Another game, another shutout for the Cavs
On an afternoon not fit for baseball or spring break, Southern Lee and Grace Christian went on with the game anyway. The Cavaliers, led by senior Caleb Gaster pitching a two-hit shutout, beat neighbor Grace Christian 6-0 in the first round of the Chatlee Boat and Marine Easter Invitational in a steady cold rain Thursday.
The Cavaliers (9-3, 5-1) scored twice in each of the first two frames for plenty of offense considering how Southern Lee’s pitching has been taking care of things lately. In what’s a four-game winning streak, with the three Cav wins leading into Thursday being Cape Fear Valley victories, the Cavs have posted three shutouts along with a 3-2 win at Gray’s Creek last Thursday.
“That’s four pretty good outings in a row,” said Southern Lee head coach David Miller. “I think, hopefully, our guys are starting to figure it out.”
On a rough day to swing the bat, the Cavaliers managed only six hits off of Grace Christian pitcher Aaron Ayers. The Cavs took advantage when they put men on base.
At the top of the Southern Lee order, Jared Kehagias and Freddy McCollum drew walks and came around to score in the first inning. Ethan Helsman drove in Kehagias, followed by clean-up hitter Derek Jackson’s triple making it 2-0.
The Cavaliers made it 4-0 in the second. Ryan Holmes and Christian Wenger started the inning with singles and came around to score.
The closest the Crusaders came to pushing something across against Gaster came in the sixth. Trailing 5-0, the Crusaders put two runners on with no outs. Montgomery Kirby’s two-out single loaded the bases but that was all the Cavs allowed.
Gaster finished the complete game striking out six and allowing three walks.
Kehagias scored two runs for the Cavs. Holmes went 1-for-3 with a run, an RBI and two stolen bases.
While not a great day for the Cavalier offense, Miller was pleased with his squad for taking care of business.
“It was a 12 p.m. game. It was cold, and wet, and we’re playing a rival. So it might’ve been easy to show up today and lay an egg, but the guys came out and played well,” Miller said.
The Crusaders (5-3, 2-0) had a three-game winning streak snapped. Head coach Jeff Ayers was disappointed his side couldn’t come through with runners on and chances to score, but is looking at the three Chatlee tourney games as a chance to get better against tough competition.
“This tournament should help us a great deal when we get back to our conference,” Ayers said.
Following this weekend, the Crusaders will host Cape Fear Christian, also undefeated in the Carolina Christian Conference, on Tuesday.
On Wednesday night in Cameron, in a first-round game moved up by 24 hours due to the forecast, Union Pines rolled to a 16-0 win over O’Neal in five innings.
The Enloe vs. Massaponax (Va.) and Surry Central vs. North Moore first-round games have yet to played. Union Pines (9-2) is slated to host the Enloe vs. Massaponax winner tonight at 7 p.m.
In aiming to get three games in today at Southern Lee, Grace Christian will play the Surry Central vs. North Moore loser at 4 p.m. and Southern Lee will play the winner at 7 p.m.