July 19, 2010
Four local Moore County teams took to the field on Saturday and Sunday at Hillcrest Park in Carthage during the Statewide Athletics Committee (SWAC) 10-under and 12-under West Regional double elimination tournament.
The following is a chronological recap of the weekend action separated by age groups:
Moore County Nationals Make it to Championship Phase:
With a record of 3-0 the Moore County Nationals were the only undefeated team remaining in the Statewide Athletic Committee (SWAC) 10-under West Regional double elimination tournament.
According to coach Mike Windish, it was a spot he and his team had hoped to be in even before Friday’s start of play in the event hosted by the Moore County Parks and Recreation Department at Hillcrest Park in Carthage.
“We are in really good shape to this point,” said Windish. “I think as a whole our team is becoming unselfish and are playing and pulling for each other. As coaches we stress that we coach good players nothing more and nothing less, but when these guys put it all together it adds up to great baseball
“Currently Zack Pruitt, Hogan Windish and Tanner Benton all can go a full game’s distance if needed, along with a full complement of consistent relief pitchers that throw strikes. So that is what we can throw in game one Sunday.”
The game one, in which Windish refers, is the championship stage of the regional event. Due to the fact the Moore County Nationals have advanced undefeated to the final round, they would have to drop two straight games to miss out advancing through to the next level, being the state tournament.
“If it happens to go on to a Monday night game, we have Ryan Brown eligible to pitch,” said Windish. “So, our mind set is pretty good.”
Brown tossed a gem in the Nationals 6-0 round-three win against Burlington, going the distance to get the complete game shutout victory allowing three hits and three walks while tallying six strike outs and recoding eight outs via pop ups, mostly to his infielders.
The Nationals did most all of their damage in the top of the second inning Saturday. Already up 1-0 in the tilt, Moore County received four straight singles from Brandon Maness, Tanner Benton, Chandler Brown and Ryan Brown. All four players eventually scored as Brown had an RBI single, Hogan Windish belted a two-run double and Zach Pruitt got down an RBI sacrifice. Then Bradley Blanchard capped off the five-run frame with an RBI base knock to right, giving the Nationals a 6-0 edge.
In their first two games of the SWAC West Regional, the Nationals scored 42 runs in seven-innings of total at-bats on Friday. Zach Pruitt finished 6-for-7 with nine RBIs, along with a triple, a double, a walk and six runs scored in Moore County’s first two games, while Blanchard was 5-for-6 overall on day one, with six RBIs, three walks and six runs scored.
While offensive production has been one huge factor, Windish also feels defensive consistency has been crucial for the Nationals.
“Our effort in practice this week has been geared to defense and so far it has really paid,” he said. “The defensive play from this team has been awfully solid in this tournament, as we just have not given the other teams a chance to capitalize on offense.
“Barber, Brown and Windish have been stingy playing the middle infield, not allowing one error. Meanwhile, the hustle plays of Pruitt and Blanchard have been exceptional. We have also gotten great effort and play from outfielders Maness, Brandon Payne and Josh Polidori.”
Sandhills Optimist All-Stars Advance and Survive:
During Saturday’s SWAC 10-under baseball tournament, the Sandhills Optimist All Stars accomplished their mission by surviving two-rounds and advancing into Sunday play.
Coming off an opening round performance of 1-1 Friday, Sandhills opened play at high noon Saturday against Alamance American at Hillcrest Park in Carthage.
Despite knowing another lost would spell the end of the road in the double-elimination event, the Optimist All Stars came out swinging the sticks loose and free. After taking a 3-0 lead with one inning in the books, Sandhills plated 16 runs in the bottom of the second inning to put the contest well out of reach and eliminate Alamance American in the process.
The Optimist All-Stars wasted little time building a substantial cushion in their next elimination battle against Nash County, which defeated Alamance national 6-5 to advance out of Saturday’s morning elimination round.
Ultimately Sandhills defeated Nash 15-0. Already in front by a 4-0 margin Sandhills plated five runs on three hits in the top of the second inning, including a two-run double by Nik Pry, to take a 9-0 lead.
Jacob Crisco crushed the first of two deep triples he would deliver during the game, while driving in three runs in the process to make the score 13-0 at the end of three innings. He finished 3-for-3 at the plate in the tilt, with five RBIS. As the All-Stars’ primary catcher, Crisco now has one homerun along with four triples and several doubles during the course of the tournament.
At 3-1 overall in the tournament, Sandhills will face Burlington Sunday morning, at 10 a.m. in the elimination bracket finals, with the winner advancing on to face the Moore County Nationals who are undefeated at 3-0.
Burlington handed Sandhills its first loss of the tournament in a 6-3 second round decision in the winner’s bracket on Friday. After taking a 2-1 lead into the second inning on RBI hits by Pry and Riley Cameron, the Sandhills All-Stars allowed Burlington to post a five-spot on the board in the top of the second.
Despite mounting rallies in the third and fifth innings Sandhills could not pull off a comeback as it was out hit by Burlington 18 to 12 in the team’s first meeting.
Burlington’s record is now 2-1 in SWAC play, as they enter Sunday’s battle with Sandhills coming off a 6-0 loss against the Moore County Nationals.
The Moore National 12U baseball team improved to 2-0 at SWAC West Regional after defeating Burlington 29-0 Saturday in the double elimination tournament
With the victory the Nationals are now set to take on the Mecklenburg County Mets, who happen to be the only other undefeated team left in the 12-under division, also sporting a 2-0 record.
After topping Thomasville 8-3 Friday, the Nationals platted 11 runs in the top of the first frame Saturday afternoon to jump out to a comfortable lead against Elkin County before ever taking the field.
With the score already 6-0, Kirby Lambert smacked a three run triple to deep left field for his second hit of the inning, making the score 9-0 with two outs in the top half of inning number one. The Nationals would ultimately plate six two-out runs in their first at-bat.
Lambert finished 4-for-5 with the bat on the day, driving in nine runs and scoring four times on a homer, a triple and two singles. Justin Maness also had a huge day at the plate for the Nationals, where he went 5-for-5 with four RBIs, four runs scored, a triple and a double.
Bryson Lambert tossed the first two innings, allowing one hit on no walks, while tallying two strikeouts for the Moore Nationals. Then, Tyler Hunsucker and Jakob Garner threw the last two innings of the mercy-rule shortened tilt.
Meanwhile, Mecklenburg County won twice on Saturday and will square off Sunday against Moore National, on field number four at Hillcrest Park, with a scheduled start time of 12 p.m.
The Mets won their 10 a.m. SWAC 12-under tournament opener by a score of 11-6 over Fairgrove – Davidson. Mecklenburg County then edged out Wallburg – Davidson in its 12:25 p.m. round-two matchup to advanced on to the third round of the upper bracket.
In other 12 and under Saturday action, the Spring Lake versus South Davidson, along with the Moore American versus Fairgrove –Davidson 2 p.m. loser’s bracket games were suspended due to inclement weather Each elimination game will be resumed early Sunday morning, with the winner of the SL/SD game scheduled to face Wallburg – Davidson and the winner of the MA/F-D game set to take on Elkin in the 11 a.m. elimination contests.
Sunday at Hillcrest Park the Moore County National 10-under team suffered its first loss SWAC West Regional, in Carthage.
After defeating The Sandhills Optimist All-Stars 5-4 in the final game of the elimination bracket, the Burlington Riverdogs got some revenge as they topped the Nationals 7-3 in the first round of the SWAC championship round.
In Saturday’s final game of the winner’s bracket, Burlington was defeated 6-0 by Moore County. In that tilt Ryan Brown tossed a gem against the Riverdogs, going the distance to get the complete game shutout-victory. He allowed three hits and three walks in the tilt, while tallying six strike outs and recording eight outs via pop ups, mostly to his infielders.
However, Burlington touched up National starting pitcher Zach Pruitt for 4 runs on three hits and three walks in the top of the first inning. As play entered the bottom of the third frame the Riverdogs led 7-0.
Brandon Payne placed a two-run, two out double to right center to trim the margin to 6-2. Then Payne got another RBI in the bottom of the fifth inning to make the score 7-3, but that would be as close as Moore County would come.
Jack Christman pitched five innings for Burlington to get the win, allowing six hits, two walks and three runs while striking out three batters. Bradley Lauck and Christman did most of the damage with the bat for the Riverdogs. Lauck finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs and a walk in the contest, while Christman was 2-for-4 with three RBIS and a double.
The two teams will face off today (Monday), for a third and decisive time at 4 p.m. to decide the SWAC 10-under West Champion.
In their first two games of the SWAC West Regional, the Nationals scored 42 runs in seven-innings of total at-bats Friday.
“It was important for us to put a lot of runs up on the board in our early round games Friday because this allowed us to dictate our entire pitching strategy,” said coach Mike Windish, who stated Brown will get the ball as the starting pitcher for the Nationals in today’s title game.
“Ryan (Brown) is a such a consistent pitcher that the whole team feels settled when he is on the mound,” said Windish “The guys just seem to step up whenever he pitches, so Ryan knows that he can count on his defense to come up big behind him.
"I really think that is where he gains his confidence. He throws hard and his teammates play hard and when we do we that our team is awfully tough to beat.”
The Moore County Nationals are through to the championship stage of the Statewide SWAC West Regional 12-under baseball tournament.
In a clash between the final two undefeated teams, in the double elimination tournament, the Nationals defeated Mecklenburg County 10-0 Sunday at Hillcrest Park in Carthage.
Kirby Lambert smacked a two-run homer in the top of the first frame as the Nationals led 3-0 through one inning of play. (It was his second longball in as many days)
With his team in front 4-0, starting pitcher Jakob Garner hit a no-doubter over the fence in left center for a three-run homer to give the Nationals a 7-0 lead through four innings of play.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Nationals plated three more runs to win via the mercy rule when Nick Rush hit an RBI single up the middle to plate the 10th run. Bryson Lambert and Garner also had run scoring singles in the frame for Moore County.
With the victory the Nationals will face the winner of the 4 p.m. Mecklenburg County (2-1) versus Wallburg-Davidson (3-1) contest in the finals of the elimination bracket, with the first pitch in the championship bracket set for 6 p.m. Today (Monday).
At 3-0 in the tournament, Moore County will have two chances to take the SWAC West Regional title and advance on to the state tournament due to the double elimination rule.
Garner pitched the opening three innings in Sunday’s tilt to get the win, allowing three hits and no walks, while tallying three strikeouts. At the plate he finished 2-for-3 with a homerun and four RBIs.
Kirby Lambert tossed two innings of relief allowing one hit, no runs and striking out two batters. He was 1-for-1 at the plate with two RBIs, before being intentionally walked twice after his deep first-inning round tripper.
In Sunday’s other SWAC 12-under action the Moore County American team lost 4-2 to Wallburg. The Americans finished the tournament with a record of 2-2.