The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

May 16, 2014

West Stanly baseball tops Mount Pleasant for RRC tournament title

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 — Twice previously this season, the West Stanly baseball team had played fellow Rocky River Conference opponent Mount Pleasant in one-run games.

On April 17, West Stanly lost 2-1 at Mount Pleasant, then returned home 24 hours later for a rain-shortened game in which the Tigers rallied with a grand slam to win 6-5 over West in five innings.

West advanced to the RRC finals after demolishing Monroe 27-3 then beating Parkwood 5-4 in the semifinals on Wednesday.

The Colts combined error-free defense with solid pitching and got timely contributions from one sophomore to earn a 4-1 over Mount Pleasant.

Zac Brown continued his strong senior season by allowing just one earned run on seven hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts to pick up the win for West Stanly (17-5).

Sophomore Cody Cline twice stepped up with runners in scoring position and delivered two clutch singles to drive in three of West’s four runs.

Ryan Ross, who was named the 2014 RRC Pitcher of the Year, allowed three runs on seven hits in taking the loss for the Tigers (16-7).

Rain played a factor in delaying the start of Friday’s RRC tournament finals, delaying the start of the game by nearly 40 minutes.

When the game finally got underway, the first three innings were a pitcher’s dual between Brown and Ross. Both starting pitchers allowed just one runner to get on base in the first three frames. Ross singled off Brown in the bottom of the first and Hunter Martin drew a two-out walk in the third.

West Stanly used small ball to get things going in the top of the fourth. Brown led off with a bunt single and reached second on Will Smith’s single to center field. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Cline’s single up the middle past a diving Brett Barrier at shortstop.

Mount got the lead runner on in the bottom of the fourth when Austin Radford singled but he was picked off first base by Brown later in the inning.

West Stanly added to the lead with two runs in the top of the sixth. With one out, Smith doubled, Tyler Huneycutt walked and Cline shot another ground ball into center field, scoring Smith.  Huneycutt advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Carson Davis RBI single to right field for a 4-0 West lead.

Mount Pleasant then launched a  rally that was helped by the after effects of the thunderstorms that delayed the start of the game. The Tigers’ Daniel Dove, Barrier, Josh Holmes and Radford each had infield singles, with Radford’s single scoring Dove from third to put the Tigers on the board.

The left-handed Brown then made an unusual pickoff move for a southpaw to third base. Cline put the tag on Barrier for first out of the inning.

Two pitches later, Brown and Cline combined on a double play when Ross hit a hard ground ball to Brown, who spun and threw to third for the out. Cline then fired across the diamond to get Ross out at first for a 1-5-3 double play.

“Coach Yow says that if you are right in your head, your instincts will take over,” Brown said in regards to the pickoff and the double play.

Brown allowed a double to Ty Pruitt with one out in the bottom of the seventh but struck out the final two Tiger batters to seal the victory for West.

“It’s a huge win, especially against (Mount Pleasant),” Brown said.

“We have lost close games to them both times; this gives us momentum.”

Regarding Cline’s three RBIs, West head coach Chad Yow said, “We have been working with Cody. He deserves to be in that spot. He is an RBI guy and he came up with two well-deserved hits.”

“This win helps us for the playoffs to get rolling,” Cline said.

WS    000    202    0    4    7    0

MP    000    001    0    1    7    0    

WP – Zac Brown (7 IP, 1 ER, 7 hits, 0 BB, 10 K)

LP – Ryan Ross (6 IP, 3 ER, 7 hits, 2 BB, 8 K)

Hitters: WS – Zac Brown 1-4; Will Smith 2-3, 2B; Cody Cline 2-3, 3 RBI; Carson Davis 1-3, RBI; Hunter Martin 1-2. MP – Josh Holmes 1-3; Austin Radford 2-3, RBI; Ryan Ross 1-3; Ty Pruitt 1-3, 2B; Daniel Dove 1-2; Brett Barrier 1-2.

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