Vikings Handle Mustangs
Union Pines defeated North Moore 12-2 via the 10-run mercy rule Wednesday in a cross-county baseball contest at Viking Field in Cameron.
After struggling the first time through the batting order against North Moore starter and breaking ball specialist Heath Carriker, the Vike batters broke through their second time around.
“The first time through Carriker did his job tonight,” said Union Pines head coach Chad Hill. “He threw strikes, and it doesn’t matter if you throw 65 or 85 mph; if you can get hitters off balance, then you can be successful, and he was.”
In his first two innings, the southpaw tossing senior managed to keep the home team off the scoreboard. In the first frame, he retired the side while fanning two batters, including Vike standout slugger and senior captain Nic Collins. Then, in the second frame, Carriker issued a pair of free passes, but managed to escape the inning unscathed. He then got his third strikeout of the night to start the bottom of the third inning, but from there the Vikings lineup turned back over and the wheels began to fall off for Carriker
Union Pines scored six runs in the bottom of the third on a two-run double by senior shortstop Justin Allred and a grand slam to center by senior catcher/right fielder Dylan Kelly to seize control of the nonconference tilt.
With still only one out in the frame, Carriker hit Vike fifth-hole hitter Seth Breasseale on a full count to load the bases. He was then lifted by North Moore coach Brandon Reynolds in favor of Coton Yedkois, who was greeted by seeing his first pitch of the game belted by Kelly on a frozen rope over the fence in center for a base-clearing big fly.
“We had a little different approach for the first round at the plate,” said Hill. “Then for the second round we knew what to be expecting, and the guys were able to get some knocks.”
North Moore grabbed a brief 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Rider Maness in the top of the third and tallied another on an unearned run in the fourth when Mustang catcher Justin Allred reached on a double and later scored on a Union Pines fielding error on a ball struck by Landon Auman.
From there Union Pines plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth and posted a four-spot in the last half of the sixth to obtain the mercy-rule win.
Viking Noble Davis picked up the pitching win in three innings of relief of starter N. Collins, who allowed one run on one hit, two walks and a hit batter. Meanwhile, Davis surrendered two hits and a free pass on the night.
North Moore dropped to 4-6 on the year, while Union Pines improved to 8-2 on the season with its eighth straight victory.
Hill admitted after the game that his team’s eight-game winning streak has been great, but he is still not convinced his squad is playing to its full potential.
“You hate to say you are riding an eight-game winning streak and are still not playing well,” Hill said, “but I don’t think we have put a complete game together yet — meaning top of the order, bottom of the order, pitching and defense all executing and doing their jobs.
“We have yet to do that, which in a way is still a good thing, because you know that potential to put it all together is there. At the same time it is also frustrating because the guys are working really hard in practice and we are doing it there. We just have not found a way to transfer it into a game atmosphere.”
The 10-run win was the first of the season for the Vikings, who had three mercy-rule victories and a record of 9-1 at this point of the season last year.
Thursday Union Pines traveled to Raleigh to face 3-A Cardinal Gibbons (7-4) in a nonconference rematch of this year’s season opener that the Crusaders of the Carolina Conference claimed by a 10-3 margin.
The 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference leading Vikes, who are currently 5-0 in the standings, close out the week Friday against league foe Westover (0-10, 0-4) at 7 p.m. in Fayetteville.
North Moore also returns to league action tonight. At 3-5 in the 1-A Yadkin Valley Conference standings, the Mustangs host Albemarle (5-6, 5-3 YVC) in a league game at 7 p.m.
R H E
North Moore 0 0 1 1 0 0 — 2 3 5
Union Pines 0 0 6 2 0 4 — 12 9 4
Carriker, Yedkois (3) and Maness (6); N. Collins and N. Davis (4) WP – N Davis, LP – Carriker; Leading hitters – (NM) Maness 1-2, 2B, RBI HP, S. Thomas 1-3, Allred 1-3, 2B, R, (UP) Kelly 1-2, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB M. Collins 2-3 2 R, 2B, E. Carden 1-3 2B, 2 RBI, BB, J. Thompson 1-3 RBI, BB.
More like this story