North Moore edges Bears in the seventh
Scoring the go-ahead run with two outs in the top of the seventh, North Moore (15-9) fended off Chatham Central's comeback effort for a 4-3 victory in the semifinals of the Yadkin Valley Conference East Division Tournament Wednesday night at Chatham Central.
The host Bears (10-10), the No. 2 seed in the division, scored three runs on one hit in the fifth to tie the game, then threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
After Andrew Jurden and Luke Garner drew walks versus North Moore freshman southpaw Trey Wood, the Mustangs brought on Kirby Lambert in relief.
Matt Brooks put down a bunt and courtesy runner Aaron Brady beat the play to third loading the bases with one out.
The next Bear hitter, Tyler Welch, hit a fly to shallow center field. Josh Wallace made the catch. The Bears gambled trying to take the lead. Wallace made an excellent throw to the plate and catcher Cameron Morrison beating Brady for a double play.
The Mustang defense took away from the Bears and gave to the Bears, but it was good enough to give them the shot to take the lead in the seventh.
In the fourth, with the Mustangs ahead 2-0, Wood gave a leadoff walk to Chase Fuquay. Brandon Beal tried bunting Fuquay up a bag, but Wood turned Beal's bunt into a 1-4-3 double play and the Bears didn't threaten in the inning.
Facing Bear ace Zack Burke, who pitched a complete game in Chatham Central's 3-1 win versus North Moore last Friday, the Mustangs strung together a walk and three singles for two runs in the second. Luke Elkins, with one out, then Wood with two outs, had RBI singles.
Lambert hammered a solo home run, carrying beyond the 346-foot sign in left-center field, to give North Moore a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
The margin seemed good enough with Wood's pitching as he held the Bears to one hit and three total base runners through four innings.
In the Bear fifth, Garner walked and Brooks got a bunt single to start. Wood turned another Bear bunt into a lead out, at third, but not a double play, then got a strikeout for the second out.
Pinch-hitter Camen Mitchell drew a walk bringing up Burke at the top of the order with the bases loaded.
Burke send a grounder to short where Matthew Spivey scooped it and threw wildly to second. The ball went to the fence beyond first base and three Bears raced around to score.
After North Moore's defense came through with the fly ball double play in the sixth, then the Mustangs edged ahead by a run in the seventh, Spivey got the ball handed to him with even more pressure on.
The Bears put two on, Brandon Phillips with a single and Burke with a walk, with one out. Spivey relieved Lambert, then walked Fuquay on four pitches.
With no margin for error left, Spivey struck out Beal looking. Jurden and Spivey battled to the classic, last-inning, two-out, bases-loaded, full count when Jurden popped up and first baseman Drake Matthews made the catch.
Burke pitched a complete game. He walked two in the first six innings but three in the seventh. Burke struck out 14. The Mustangs got eight hits.
Morrison, in the clean-up spot, went 3 for 4 with a double. Elkins had two hits, a walk and two RBI.
Wood pitched 5.1 innings allowing two hits and getting eight strikeouts. Lambert, who pitched 1.0 inning, got the win. Spivey got the last two outs for a serious save.
The Mustangs advanced to play West Montgomery in the YVC division final played Thursday night at Chatham Central. West Montgomery defeated East Montgomery 7-6 in the semifinals.