Surry Central tops Crusaders to cap trip
Surry Central took advantage of Grace Christian miscues in the first three innings and finished its trip to the Chatlee Easter Invitational with fifth place and a 2-1 mark, defeating the Crusaders 5-3 Friday afternoon.
Both squads won games earlier in the day as part of the tournament schedule was moved up a day to avoid potential rain. The last two games of the tournament are still set for today at Southern Lee with the third-place game at 4 p.m. and the championship game at 7 p.m.
The Crusaders (10-9, 5-1 Carolina Christian) gave the Golden Eagles (9-7) gifts of walks, errors, wild pitches and a balk in the first three innings and, all of that considered, were in decent shape to still be in the game, down 4-2 through three.
Grace Christian pulled within a run in the home half of the fourth. Capitalizing on the Golden Eagles being careless with the ball, Nathan Holt sprinted home on Paul Bordelon's two-out single making it 4-3 Golden Eagles. Holt was on second when Bordelon singled sharply into center. Holt stopped at third before the Surry Central catcher threw the ball over second base trying to nail Bordelon and Holt scored thanks to the error.
Forest Kimbrell, Surry Central's starting pitcher, ended the Grace fourth there and held the Crusaders in the fifth as one Crusader was picked off at first and another was caught trying to steal second.
Kaden Leonard relieved Kimbrell starting the sixth and retired the six Crusaders he faced in order.
Kimbrell, the Golden Eagle leadoff hitter, singled and Brett Mosley walked to open the Surry Central first. Both scored on a grounder to shortstop which scored Kimbrell on a fielder's choice and Mosley on an error.
In the Golden Eagle second, Kimbrell struck out with one out but reached base on a dropped third strike. He wound up scoring on Stephen Bruner's sacrifice fly.
Grace Christian got on the board in the bottom of the second. Holt singled, then raced around from first on Shane Farnsworth's double. Farnsworth moved to third on an error on the Golden Eagle relay attempt to the plate, then scored on a strikeout as the Golden Eagles had to make a throw to first.
More Crusader mistakes helped Surry Central put extra insurance up in the third, making it 4-2, then in the fifth, making it 5-3.
Braxton Toro pitched the first six innings plus one hitter into the seventh. He allowed six hits and got six strikeouts. Caleb Welborn relieved Toro in the seventh and held the Golden Eagles.
Toro and Bordelon were the Crusader representatives on the all-tournament team.
The Crusaders will play their regular-season home finale versus Oakwood at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The last prep they'll get before the CCC Tournament, and potentially the NCISAA 1A State Tournament, is a tourney at Wayne Country Day on Thursday and Friday.