Panthers run into title game vs. ECH
Watching the Orange Panthers zip around the infield, it was impossible to tell the base paths had been a rain-soaked water hazard earlier in the day.
Host Orange won 6-3 over West Forsyth in a Hilltop Invitational American Division semifinal on Friday, stealing more bases (seven) than they had hits (five). The Panthers will take on East Chapel Hill at 7 tonight in the division title game
“We have a few guys with speed, and with the change in the bats last year you have to incorporate that speed, a little small ball, a little bunting and stealing and things like that,” Orange coach Dean Dease said.
“The key to that was their pitcher had a high leg kick. The catcher didn’t have a chance” to throw out the runners, Dease said.
The latest version of bats doesn’t produce long drives, Dease said.
“Basically they went from having like a nuclear weapon to changing the bats to a BB core, and it’s supposed to be more like a wood bat. I’m not even sure it’s as solid as a wood bat. But the sweet spot’s a lot smaller,” Dease said.
“A freshman, Bryse Wilson, put a good swing on it,” Dease said of his third baseman, who clouted a solo homer in the second inning. “Bryse will probably be on the mound tomorrow night.”
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when leadoff batter Jon Evans walked, stole second base, moved to third on a single by right fielder Nick Debo, and came home on a double play groundout by first baseman Andrew Toney.
Orange added three runs in the second, sparked by Wilson’s dinger to left-center. Evans then bunted for a single and stole second. Second baseman Joe Piscitelli walked, both runners moved up a base on a balk and scored on a double by Debo.
The Bulldogs went up 5-0 in the third inning after Wilson walked, stole second base, and scored on a single between first and second by designated hitter Joe Vance.
West Forsyth got on the board in the top of the fourth after second baseman Taylor Idol singled, stole second base, moved to third on a pop fly by center fielder Aaron Stamper and was plated on a sacrifice fly to center by first baseman Nick Bequette.
Evans got a leadoff walk in the fourth inning and stole second base for the third straight time. Debo walked, and both runners moved up on a double steal. Evans made it 6-1 on a fielder’s choice when Titans shortstop Tripp Shelton unsuccessfully tried to throw him out at home plate.
The Titans scored in the sixth inning on back-to-back singles by second baseman Idol and center fielder Aaron Stamper to make it 6-2. Idol had moved into scoring position by stealing second base.
Orange got into a jam in the final inning to give the ending some drama. Evans came on in relief and struck out the side, but not before loading the bases and walking in a run.
“Our starter, Jordan Toney, threw well and he wanted to finish, but we have Jon Evans on shortstop and he’s the guy we usually bring on in the seventh,” Dease said. “So we brought him in, and he hasn’t pitched in over a week and he was a little rusty, I believe.”
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
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.