Vikings Outlast Blue Comets
Union Pines played the comeback card for a second time this week, erasing a 5-0 deficit in nonconference baseball action to defeat Asheboro 9-8 Wednesday in Cameron.
Trailing 5-0 before even taking one swing against the visiting 3-A Asheboro Blue Comets (2-2), the Vikings answered by plating seven runs through its first three at-bats.
“Nobody likes to be down five (runs) before they have a chance to swing the bats,” said Vike head coach Chad Hill, “but it was definitely a different approach tonight for us at the plate. We kind of took the same mentality we did the other night (against Pine-crest), and we started chipping away. The guys battled out there and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Union Pines improved to 2-2 on the season with the victory, its second of the week. Monday the Vikes battled back from a 7-1 deficit to top Pinecrest (3-1) 10-9. On the night Union Pines’ offense drew five free passes, tallied 10 hits, including three long balls, two sacrifices and only struck out two times.
Vike seniors Nic Collins and Justin Allred played long ball to cut the deficit to 5-2 through one inning, as the duo hit back-to-back dingers to center field in the bottom of the first.
Union Pines plated five runs on three hits, three walks and a sacrifice in the third frame to take a 7-5 advantage.
Jeffrey Thompson and Emmitt Carden each had two RBIs in the frame. Thompson’s came on a homer to deep center that cut the Blue Comet lead to 5-4. Carden later delivered a two-strike, two-out backside single to right that gave the Vikes a 6-5 edge.
After reaching base, the sophomore second baseman stole three bases, including home, to give Union Pines a two-run lead.
Collins accounted for both of the Vikes’ final two runs. In the fourth inning the senior captain southpaw belted a rope to right that banged off the fence to plate Thompson. Then in the sixth inning with one away, the four-year starter fought off a high outside pitch, driving it deep the other way to plate his brother, sophomore Mason Collins.
After the game, the Vike catcher and Georgetown signee discussed the current mindset in the clubhouse for Union Pines.
“We are definitely coming together as a team now,” he said. “We have a couple of guys that came up from jayvee last year that are getting it going and helping us gel as a unit. As a result we are all on the same page. We are swinging the bat well, talking in the dugout — getting behind each other — and having some fun.
“Another thing that is starting to click is our pitching. Tonight all three of our guys threw the ball well and hit their spots. I feel more than anything they are starting to find their rhythm out there as they get more adjusted to seeing live batters at the plate in games that actually count.”
Allred got the win for Union Pines, pitching two scoreless innings (in the second and third) while registering three Ks.
“The feeling around here is a lot better now than it was at the beginning of the week when everybody was down due to our 0-2 start,” said Allred. “Coach Hill has been working us harder in practice and getting us re-focused, which I feel has paid off big time in the overall results in these past two games, as well as in our approaches at the bat, on defense and on the mound.”
Up until the final inning of action, Union Pines had committed just two errors in the field. However, the Vikes did make two costly errors on one play, a ground ball to second with two outs and runners on first and second, to put the game in serious jeopardy.
Still senior southpaw Seth Breasseale was able to tally his seventh strikeout of the night to escape the jam and secure the win. On the night, he ended up allowing three unearned runs on two hits and one walk along with the two Vikings errors, to get a rare four-inning save.
The Union Pines pitching staff collected 11 strikeouts in the contest, while allowing one free pass on a seventh-inning walk.
The Vikings are slated to finish the week with their 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference opener Friday at 7 p.m. back in Cameron against the Douglas Byrd Eagles.
R H E
Asheboro 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 — 8 9 1
Union Pines 2 0 5 1 0 1 x — 9 10 4
C Philips, B. Glass (3), N. Hannon (4)and C. Long (6); Davis (1), Allred (2) and Breasseale (4); WP – Allred LP – Philips Save – Breasseale; Leading hitters – (A) D. Prevatte 2-4 HR, 2 R, M. Ingram 2-3 RBI, A. Brown 1-3 HR 3 RBI. (UP) M. Collins 2-3 2 R, 2B, BB, N. Collins 2-3 3 RBI, HR, SF, Allred 2-2 HR, RBI 2 R, HP, BB, Carden 1-2, 2 RBI, 3 SB, BB. 3 R, BB.
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