The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

April 28, 2014

Albemarle baseball wins Yadkin Valley Diamond Classic

Sunday, April 27, 2014 — Don Montgomery Park in Albemarle was the host field for the second annual Yadkin Valley Diamond Classic high school varsity baseball tournament this week.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the teams of Albemarle, North Stanly, West Columbusand the Greater Cabarrus Stallions competed in the two-day event.

Thursday’s Games

Albemarle 11, North Stanly 5

The finale of the Yadkin Valley Diamond Classic featured a renewal of the rivalry between two schools separated by five miles along a stretch of U.S. Hwy 52. Albemarle and North Stanly faced each other Thursday night in what will be the second of three regular-season matchups.

The two teams are slated to wrap up the regular season this Friday at Don Montgomery Park.

The Bulldogs pounded out 13 hits in the game and took advantage of five Comet errors to earn an 11-5 win over North Stanly for the tournament title.

Albemarle (16-3) reached double digits in runs for the fourth time in five games and eighth time overall in 2014. The Bulldogs racked up 51 hits over the two-day event and 31 runs.

Andre Ridenhour earned the win for the Bulldogs, allowing five earned runs on three hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Ross Plyler came up one-third of an inning short of earning a save, pitching the final 2.2 innings for Albemarle and allowing no runs on one hit with two strikeouts.

Will Moore allowed two earned runs in 2.1 innings pitched in taking the loss for the Comets (10-7). Noah Crisco relieved Moore on the mound and allowed one earned run on six hits over the next 2.2 innings pitched. Matt Lambert pitched a scoreless sixth inning for North.

The Comets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Aaron Walters scored Cameron Vick on a fielder’s choice.

The Bulldogs took the lead in a six-run bottom of the third inning. Bryan Blanton singled, Mikey Polk walked and K.J. McKinney singled to score Blanton and move Polk to third. Polk tried to score on a Dillon Guenther fielder’s choice and was thrown out at the plate. McKinney took off for third and the throw down the bag went over the third baseman’s head and rolled deep into left field, scoring McKinney and Guenther.

Zach Brafford singled and later scored when a line drive to right field was mis-handled. Hunter Davis then drove in two runs with a single to right field to put the Bulldogs up 6-1.

North Stanly pulled to within a run in the  top of the fifth inning with four runs. Walters walked, Devin Wheeler singled and Crisco walked to load the bases with no outs. Will Moore and Matt Lambert drew bases-loaded walks, then Moore scored on a balk and Zac Almond scored on a Tyler Burris sacrifice fly.

The Bulldogs immediately responded with five runs in the bottom of the fifth. Kevin McKinney drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Rogers Brafford scored on an error. Zac Brafford added an RBI single and later scored on an error to put Albemarle up by six.

Regarding the team’s offense, Albemarle head coach Jamie Kimrey said that “it was good to get the bats going.”

Kimrey also talked about the Bulldogs’ efforts in the Easter tournament.

“The kids have shown the ability to keep and maintain momentum,” Kimrey said.

‘Hitting is contagious and we put pressure on ourselves to see who is going to be the first guy with a hit. After that, it takes off.”

Kimrey also said that his team has been aggressive on the basepaths trying to get extra bases where possible.

The Albemarle coach also talked about the team’s pitching this week, saying that some questions have been answered in the bullpen.

“Blanton did a great job against West Columbus, but others have stepped up and shown that we have guys we can go to when needed,” Kimrey said.

“In a three-game type series, pitching usually answers the question of who has the better team, not just one pitcher.”

Albemarle hosts Queen’s Grant on Tuesday and wraps up the regular season at home against North Stanly on Friday.

NS    010    040    0    5    4    5

A    006    050    x    11    13    0

WP – Andre Ridenhour (4.1 IP, 5 ER, 3 hits, 6 BB, 0 K)

LP – Will Moore (2.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 hits, 2 BB, 1 K)

Hitters: NS – Landon Mullis 2-3; Cameron Vick 1-3; Devin Wheeler 1-2. A – Colten Allen 3-3, R, RBI; Vance Deese 2-4, RBI; Ryan Coley 1-3, 2B, R; Alex Poplin 1-4, RBI; Chase Frick 1-3, R, RBI; Maxton Horton 1-3.

GCAA 7, North Stanly 0

The third game of the final day of the Classic saw the Greater Cabarrus Stallions playing the second part of a doubleheader against North Stanly after having just beaten West Columbus 8-1.

The Comets, playing the first of two games back-to-back on Thursday, threatened several times in the game but could not put a run on the board, losing 7-0 to the Stallions.

Hunter Shepard scattered six hits and earned the win for the Stallions while helping out his own cause at the plate with a double, a solo home run and three RBIs.

Devin Wheeler allowed four earned runs in three innings to take the loss for the Comets.

GCAA jumped out to a fast 4-0 lead thanks to Shepard’s two-RBI double and an RBI single from Josh Holt.

North’s best threat came in the top of the first inning with one out when Will Moore walked, Zac Almond singled and Matt Lambert reached first on a dropped third strike. Shepard got a strikeout then a groundout to the pitcher to end the threat.

The Comets got two runners on base with two outs in the seventh off singles from Reese Shelton and Aaron Walters, but the next batter struck out to end the game.

NS    000    000    0    0    6    3

GC    401    002    x    7    9    1

WP – Hunter Shepard (7 IP, 0 R, 6 hits, 1 BB, 7 K)

LP – Devin Wheeler (3 IP, 4 ER, 5 hits, 2 BB, 1 K)

Hitters: NS – Zac Almond 2-3, 2B; Landon Mullis 1-3; Aaron Walthers 2-3; Reese Shelton 1-1. GS – Caleb Threadgill 1-2; Dalton Lankford 2-4, 2B; Noah Jarrett 2-3, 2 RBI; Hunter Shepard 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI; Tyler Hartsell 1-3; Josh Holt 1-3, RBI.

Albemarle 10, W. Columbus 0

The opening game of the final day of the Classic saw the host Bulldogs take on West Columbus.

Senior Bryan Blanton pitched six solid innings and the Albemarle offense produced 15 hits in a 10-run, six-inning shutout win over the Vikings.

Blanton improved to 5-0 on the mound this season for the Bulldogs and reduced his earned run average on the season to 0.40, walking three and striking out eight batters. On the season, Blanton now has walked 22 and struck out 56.

Albemarle jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when K.J. McKinney singled and scored on a Zach Brafford RBI single.

Blanton scored an unearned run in the second inning, then the Bulldogs added two more in the third. Holden Davis drove in a run in the third inning then Justin Crump scored an unearned run to make it 4-0 Albemarle.

In the fourth, Zach Brafford and Holden Davis again had RBI hits as the Bulldogs scored three runs.

Ross Plyler drove in two runs with a double in the bottom of the fifth, and the Bulldogs ended the game on the 10-run rule in the sixth when Rogers Brafford’s RBI single scored Holden Davis.

WC    000    000        0    1    2

A    112    321        10    15    2

WP – Bryan Blanton (5 IP, 0 R, 1 hit, 3 BB, 8 K)

LP – Noblis (4 IP, 7 R, 9 hits, 2 BB, 1 K)

Hitters: WC – Bullard 1-3. A – K.J. McKinney 1-2; Ross Plyler 2-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Zach Brafford 1-4, RBI; Holden Davis 3-3, RBI; Justin Crump 1-3, 2B; Hunter Davis 2-4, RBI; Rogers Brafford 2-3, RBI; Bryan Blanton 1-3; Mikey Polk 2-3, 2B, RBI.

Wednesday’s Games

North Stanly 3, West Columbus 2

Comet catcher Zac Almond ended the opening game of the Yadkin Valley Classic with one swing of the bat.

The future UNC-Greensboro Spartan hammered a pitch high over the fence in left field for a walkoff solo home run, lifting the Comets to a 3-2 win over the West Columbus Vikings.

Matt Lambert pitched three innings of relief and earned the win for the Comets,  striking out four batters. Noah Crisco started for the Comets and allowed one earned run on three hits in four innings on the mound.

Trey Benton took the loss for the Vikings (11-4), coached by former South Stanly and Stanly Community College baseball coach Jeff Lamb.

Playing as the visiting team, West Columbus took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Tanner Daniels doubled and later scored on a fielder’s choice.

North tied the game in the bottom of the third when Devin Wheeler reached on an error and scored on an Almond sacrifice fly to center field.

The Comets led after five innings by one run when Almond walked, stole second and third and scored on a Matt Lambert RBI sacrifice fly to center.

West Columbus tied the game in the top of the sixth with an unearned run.

WC    100    001    0    2    4    1

NS    001    010    1    3    8    2

WP – Matt Lambert (3 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 BB, 4 K)

LP – Trey Braton  (7 IP, 1 ER, 8 hits, 2 BB, 8 K)

Hitters: WC – Tanner Daniels 1-3, 2B, R; Cole Strickland 2-3, RBI; Braton 1-3 . NS – Will Moore 2-4; Zac Almond 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Matt Lambert 1-2, RBI; Tyler Burris 1-3; Landon Mullis 2-3; Devin Wheeler 1-3.

Albemarle 10, GCAA 4

As the temperature dipped markedly from the first game of the Classic, the host Bulldogs took on the Greater Cabarrus Stallions.

Albemarle jumped out to a 9-0 lead and held off the Stallions later in the game for a 10-4 win.

Dillon Moon earned the win for the Bulldogs, while Mikey Polk and Bryan Blanton both pitched in relief for Albemarle.

The Bulldogs drew three walks, had two reach on errors and got RBI singles from K.J. McKinney and Polk to score six times in the bottom of the first.

Albemarle got four straight hits to start the bottom of the second as Dillon Guenther, Zach Brafford and Holden Davis all singled and Justin Crump followed up with a double.

The Stallions got two doubles, a run on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single to plate three runs in the top of the fourth.

In the sixth, Holden Davis delivered the second of his two doubles in the game and then scored on a Hunter Davis RBI single for Albemarle’s 10th run of the game.

After the Stallions scored a run in the top of the seventh, Blanton came in and struck out three batters in a row to end the game and give Albemarle the team’s 15th win of the season in 18 outings.

GC    000    300    1    4    9    5

A    630    001    x    10    13    1

WP – Dillon Moon

LP – Jarrett

Hitters: GC – Threadgill 1-4, RBI; Lankford 1-3; Jarrett 1-3, 2B; Shepard 2-4, 2 2B; Holt 1-4, 2B, RBI; Wallace 1-3, RBI; Strickland 1-4; Cone 1-3. A – Bryan Blanton 1-3; Dillon Guenther 2-4; Zach Brafford 1-3; Holden Davis 3-3, 2 2B; Justin Crump 1-3, 2B, RBI; Hunter Davis 1-4; Rogers Brafford 1-3; K.J. McKinney 1-4, RBI; Mikey Polk 2-4, RBI.

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