Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Elliott Bentley’s bat carried the day for Jordan Thursday, the senior driving a 2-0 pitch over the left-field fence to break a one-run tie as he led off the fifth inning at Cedar Ridge.
The Falcons went on to defeat the Fighting Red Wolves 8-1 in the opening game of the annual Hilltop Invitational baseball tournament hosted by Cedar Ridge, Orange, East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill high schools with games spread over all four sites.
It was justice for Bentley on an unseasonably cold and rainy Thursday that saw 7 p.m. games — this among them — moved on Wednesday night to 1 p.m. to beat the weather. The scheduled 4 p.m. games weren’t as fortunate. All four of them were postponed.
Today’s revamped schedule, including makeup games, can be found on page B2.
In other 1 p.m. games involving area teams, Orange beat Cary 6-5 at Orange, Chapel Hill beat Cary Panther Creek 6-5 at Chapel Hill and South Granville beat Burlington Williams 4-2 at East Chapel Hill.
Jon Evans, Nick Debo and Brandon Wood had all six Orange hits — two apiece — and Evans and Debo each drove in two runs to back the five-hit, five-inning complete game victory by Andrew Toney for Orange over Cary.
In other tournaments involving area teams, Voyager Academy’s scheduled doubleheader against Anson County and North Stanly at the Albemarle High School Easter Invitational was postponed and the games will be played at 2 p.m. (Anson County) and 7 p.m. (North Stanly) today. The two-day tournament’s conclusion will be pushed back to Saturday to accommodate the make-up games. Also, a scheduled meeting between Southern and Durham Academy at Cary Academy’s Charger Invitational was postponed and will be played at 6 tonight.
In fact the Jordan-Cedar Ridge game was ended after six innings — high school games are normally seven innings — because of the rain.
Bentley, the Falcons’ starting pitcher, allowed an unearned run to score in the fourth inning which resulted in his getting pulled with the game tied 1-1.
His performance was otherwise brilliant. Bentley threw 3 2/3 innings, striking out eight and allowing no earned runs.
“He doesn’t throw an awful lot,” Jordan coach Devy Bell said of Bentley, who normally plays the infield for the Falcons.
Jordan lost six pitchers from last year’s NCHSAA 4-A playoff team, forcing Bell to think creatively about who to use on the mound.
Said Bell: “If we can get 60 pitches or so out of him (Bentley), then we’re in good shape.”
Indeed, the Falcons were in good shape, Bentley throwing 72 pitches as the Falcons gave up only two hits.
Carter Dillard followed Bentley’s fifth inning lead-off homer with a double to left-center. Ben Skeen’s single advanced Dillard to third on the next at-bat and Matt Tilley drove Dillard in to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead.
Notwithstanding the leadoff home run and double in the fifth inning, Cedar Ridge’s Michael Burroughs tossed a quality start. Through three innings he had not give up a hit and worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the first.
“Their lefty (Burroughs) did a great job,” Bell said. “He kept us off balance and when we’d have guns on second and third he worked his way out of it.
“I can’t say enough about his performance.”
But with Burroughs knocked out of the game, the Falcons’s bats came alive in the sixth inning, scoring five runs on four hits as the Fighting Red Wolves’ defense fell apart, committing four errors in the inning.
Wood Myers spelled Bentley on the mound, throwing 2 1/3 innings of no-hit relief, and striking out a two on 46 pitches.
The game was called after six innings due to the rain.
NOTES — Other outlets are reporting the score of the Jordan game as 9-1 because of a technical problem with the Cedar Ridge scoreboard. A light bulb was out under the runs column on the scoreboard making the 8 appear to be a 9. Both Jordan and Cedar Ridge reported the score as 9-1, but Cedar Ridge coach Jacson Lowe, when contacted, laughed and said “I was wondering about that. My scorebook only showed eight runs, too, but I thought it must’ve been wrong.”
— Staff writer Mark Donovan contributed to this report.
First Round Games
Jordan 8, Cedar Ridge 1
(6 innings, rain)
Jordan 000 125—9 8 4
Cedar Ridge 000 100—1 2 6
Batteries—Jordan, Elliott Bentley, Wood Myers (4th, W 1-0) and Ben Skeen. Cedar Ridge—Michael Burroughs (L), Elliott Orlowski (5), Chris Nobblitt (6) and Ben Boykin.
Leading hitters—Jordan, Bentley 2-3 (HR, 2B, 2 RBI), Carter Dillard 2-4 (2B, 1 RBI), Steven Oakley (1 RBI), Skeen 2-3, Matt Tilley (1 RBI), Max Veasey (1 RBI). Cedar Ridge, Lucas Orlowski (2B, 1 RBI).
Records—Cedar Ridge 2-8; Jordan 8-4.
Orange 6, Cary 5
(5 innings, rain)
Cary 410 00—5 5 3
Orange 101 40—6 6 1
Batteries—Cary, Gavin Russell, C.J. Barringer (5) and Robbie Kellerman. Orange, Andrew Toney (W) and Joe Vance.
Leading hitters—Cary, Grant Hayes 2-3, Drew Harrilchak 1-3 (HR, 4 RBI). Orange, Jon Evans 2-2 (2 RBI), Nick Debo 2-3 (2B, 2 RBI), Brandon Wood 2-3.
Records—Cary 3-10, Orange 10-1.
Friday's Hilltop Invitational Tournament Schedule
(at Hillsborough Orange H.S.)
• West Forsyth vs. 1st Colonial (Va.), 2 p.m.
• W. Forsyth/1st Colonial loser vs. Cary, 4:30 p.m.
• W. Forsyth/1st Colonial winner vs. Orange, 7 p.m.
(at East Chapel Hill H.S.)
• East Chapel Hill vs. Maury (Va.), 10 a.m.
• ECH/Maury loser vs. Burlington Williams, 1 p.m.
• ECH/Maury winner vs. South Granville, 4 p.m.
(at Chapel Hill H.S.)
• East Forsyth vs. Northern, 2 p.m.
• E. Forsyth/Northern loser vs. Panther Creek, 4:30 p.m.
• E. Forsyth/Northern winner vs. Chapel Hill, 7 p.m.
(at Hillsborough Cedar Ridge H.S.)
• S. Alamance v. Cardinal Gibbons, 2 p.m.
• S. Alamance/Gibbons loser vs. Cedar Ridge, 4:30 p.m.
• S. Alamance/Gibbons winner vs. Jordan, 7 p.m.