Moore, Wildcats pull out pair of wins
East Chapel Hill rode the right arm of freshman relief pitcher Sean Moore to back-to-back home wins Friday and into today’s Hilltop Invitational American Division championship game at Orange at 7 p.m.
Moore twice entered games in save situations Friday, giving up the tying runs both times and then holding on as his teammates scored late to win.
“Isn’t that something?” ECH coach Phil Woodell said of Moore. “Two blown saves and two wins.”
Moore, the Wildcats’ starting third baseman, earned a 4-3 win in the eight-inning opener over Norfolk (Va.) Maury in a game postponed because of rain on Thursday.
He was forced into action in the seventh inning when starter John Page was hit near the elbow by a line drive with a 3-1 lead and had to leave. Woodell said an MRI showed no bones were broken but that Page will be out “a couple weeks” at least.
“ It’s a shame,” Woodell said. “He was throwing a gem — the best he’s pitched. It’s tough for us because he’s our No. 3 hitter, too.”
The blown save by Moore wasn’t his fault. An error opened the door for two runs by Maury, but the Wildcats won it with a walkoff RBI single by Bennett Byerley in the bottom of the eighth.
“Gem” was not in anyone’s vocabulary in the regularly scheduled second round game Friday when East Chapel Hill (7-5) scored enough times and got just enough pitching from Moore to beat South Granville 7-5.
South Granville (7-3) led 2-0 on a run-scoring single by Ty Adcock and an RBI double by Cord Michalina in the first but gave the lead back with some miscues in the bottom of the first and second.
ECH scored its first run on a ball four wild pitch to Moore by Vikings starter Cameron Willis, then added four in the second with the help of a pair of errors and a pair of infield singles that weren’t well played by South Granville. All four of the runs were unearned.
“I thought we played great — except for that second inning,” first-year South Granville coach Curt Watkins said. “We hit the ball good, something we didn’t do (in an opening-round win on Thursday). Four unearned runs just kill you.”
The Vikings made it 5-4 in the top of the third on an RBI double by Shawn Montren, who scored on a throwing error moments later. South Granville pulled even in the fifth when Moore, just in for starter Bennett Byerley, walked Montren — the first batter he faced. Montren stole second and scored on a pair of Moore wild pitches.
South Granville went to a freshman relief pitcher in the fifth as well and Justin Brown’s two wild pitches intertwined with a walk, a single by Ian Breakfield and a fielder’s choice RBI by Gabe Garcia gave ECH its winning margin.
Woodell was thrilled at his team’s ability to fight through adversity and win.
“We’re so stinkin’ young, any success we have is a good thing,” Woodell said of a roster that features only three seniors. “The kids have battled now. They know they’ve gotta get better and they are.”
NOTES — The Hilltop Invitational is a three-day event played at host schools Orange, Cedar Ridge, ECH and Chapel Hill. Friday’s scheduled games at Cedar Ridge were moved to Northern because of wet grounds. ... American and National division champions will be crowned today with the National Division title game played at Chapel Hill at 7 p.m.
American Division/Friday Summaries
Second Round Games
ECH 7, S. Granville 5
S. Granville 202 010 0—5 10 3
E. Chapel Hill 140 002 x—7 7 2
Batteries — South Granville, Cameron Willis, Justin Brown (5th, L), Ethan Bowen (6th) and Cord Michalina. East Chapel Hill, Bennett Byerley, Sean Moore (5th, W) and Josh Baldwin.
Leading hitters — South Granville, Ty Adcock 2-4 (RBI), Shawn Montren 1-3 (2B, RBI), Michalina 1-4 (2B, RBI), Matt McCutcheon 2-2, Keyante Scott 2-2 (2B). East Chapel Hill, Jamari Burk 2-4, Baldwin 1-1 (3 BB), Ian Breakfield 2-4.
Records — South Granville 7-3-1, East Chapel Hill 7-5.
Orange 6, W. Forsyth 3
West Forsyth 000 101 1—3 6 1
Orange 131 100 x—6 5 1
Batteries — West Forsyth, Travis Holden (L, 2-1), Nick Boyles (4th), T.J. Goco (6th) and Zach French. Orange, Jordan Toney (W, 2-1), Jon Evans (7th) and Brad Debo.
Leading hitters — West Forsyth, Taylor Idol 3-4, Zach French 2-3. Orange, Nick Debo 2-3 (2B, 3 RBI), Bryse Wilson 1-2 (HR).
Records — West Forsyth 9-5, Orange 11-1.
First Round Game
ECH 4, Norfolk Maury 3, 8 inn.
Maury 001 000 20—3 6 3
ECH 201 000 01—4 11 4
Batteries — Maury, Paul Hall, Zach Joachim (6th, L), Rick Radford (8th) and Joe Jackson. East Chapel Hill, John Page, Sean Moore (7th, W) and Josh Baldwin.
Leading hitters — Maury, Louis Overcamp 2-4. East Chapel Hill, Bennett Byerley 2-4 (RBI), Baldwin 2-4 (2B, 3 RBI), Ian Breakfield 2-4.
Records — Norfolk (Va.) Maury 3-5, East Chapel Hill 6-5.
Second Round Games
E. Forsyth 14, Cedar Ridge 3
at Northern H.S.
E. Forsyth 150 300 5—14 14 4
Cedar Ridge 000 101 1—3 2 1
Batteries — East Forsyth, Zac Scudder (W), Lucas Westmoreland (7th) and Alex Mize. Cedar Ridge, Chris Nobblitt (L, 1-2), Eli Lamb (4th), Tyler Ennis (7th) and Ben Boykin, Perry Christian (5th).
Leading hitters — East Forsyth, Brandon Ford 3-4 (3B, HR, 2 RBI), David Watts 1-4 (3B, RBI), Matt Freeman 3-5 (HR, 3 RBI). Cedar Ridge, Lamb 1-1 (SF, 2 RBI).
Records — East Forsyth 7-6, Cedar Ridge 2-9.
Jordan 6, Chapel Hill 2
Jordan 200 200 2—6 9 2
Chapel Hill 002 000 0—2 7 4
Batteries — Jordan, Kerry Walker (W, 4-1) and Ben Skeen. Chapel Hill, Zach Jansen (L) and Sean Dawson.
Leading hitters — Jordan, Elliott Bentley 2-4 (HR, RBI), Matt Tilley 2-3 (2B), Steven Oakley 1-4 (2B, 2 RBI). Chapel Hill, Andrew Miller 1-3 (RBI), Luke Ciocca 1-3.
Records — Jordan 9-4, Chapel Hill 5-7.
Other First Round Scores
Northern 5, East Forsyth 2
Southern Alamance 5, Cardinal Gibbons 1
Other Second Round Scores
Jordan 6, Chapel Hill 2
Southern Alamance 14, Northern 0
SATURDAY, APRIL 6 HILLTOP INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
National Division at Chapel Hill High School
7th/8th Place — Panther Creek vs. Cedar Ridge, 10 a.m.
5th/6th Place — East Forsyth vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 1 p.m.
3rd/4th Place — Northern vs. Chapel Hill, 4 p.m.
1st/2nd Place — Southern Alamance vs. Jordan, 7 p.m.
American Division at East Chapel Hill High School
7th/8th Place — Maury vs. Cary, 10 a.m.
5th/6th Place — 1st Colonial vs. Burlington, 1 p.m.
American Division at Orange High School
3rd/4th Place — South Granville vs. West Forsyth, 4 p.m.
1st/2nd Place —East Chapel Hill vs Orange, 7 p.m.