Terry Sanford moves atop the CFVC
In an early-season contest for first place in the Cape Fear Valley baseball race, it was this school year's two rookies in the conference, Lee County and Terry Sanford vying for the league lead Thursday night.
And in a contest of both squads' pitching aces, neither went the distance but Terry Sanford's Joe Ingle got more support versus Lee County's Hampton Thomas and the host Bulldogs (7-3, 4-0) defeated the Yellow Jackets (4-5, 3-1) 5-2.
Lee County threatened much of the way versus Ingle, putting runners in scoring position with less than two outs in four of its first five innings. The Jackets plated two runs in the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead which didn't stand through the next half inning. Overall though, Ingle walked seven Jackets and hit a batter, but none of those eight runners came around to score in the 5.0 innings Ingle worked.
The Jackets got two walks, but left both on, as Ingle ended the top of the first with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Bulldogs, with a walk, then Andrew Henrickson's sacrifice-turned-single bunt, then another walk, loaded the bases with no outs in their first. Thomas struck out the next Bulldog, then got a chopper to third. Alston Scott fielded the ball, stepped on third and threw in the dirt to first. Austin Warren scored on the play.
Thomas worked without problem through the second and third, then the Jackets got their first hits and runs of the night off of Ingle in the fourth.
Braxton Toro singled with one out, then with two down, Matt Hutchens shot a single just inside the right field line putting Jackets on the corners.
Toro sprinted home on a wild pitch followed by Spencer Faulk RBI single into left, bringing Hutchens around from second, for a 2-1 Lee County lead.
Two walks got Thomas in trouble in the Bulldog fourth and Sam Zahran's two-out single drove Ingle in making it 2-2.
The Jackets got a hit batter, then two two-out walks, but left the bases loaded in the fifth. Terry Sanford manufactured the go-ahead run across as Henrickson reached on another bunt single, moved around on a balk and a fielder's choice grounder before scoring on Cole Brown's safety squeeze bunt which went for a single.
Justin Walke relieved Ingle starting the sixth. A Bulldog double play, with shortstop Austin Warren tagging second and tossing to first, ended the sixth.
The Bulldogs added two runs, one charged to Thomas and one to Scott who got the last three outs, in their sixth. Walke allowed a hit, but got two strikeouts, in the Jacket seventh to get a save.
Terry Sanford will be Southern Lee's guest at 7 p.m. Friday in the first Bulldog vs. Cavalier game in Terry Sanford's CFVC era.
The Yellow Jackets, who had a four-game winning streak before falling to Pinecrest and Terry Sanford the last two nights, will hit the road again Friday night to play at Westover.