Cavaliers fight back to beat Lee County, 10-6
Southern Lee completed a regular-season sweep versus county rival Lee County on the baseball diamond Thursday evening while the Lady Yellow Jackets swept the Brick City softball season series.
Cullen Boyette's five RBI, including a go-ahead bases-loaded, bases-clearing double in Southern Lee's five-run four inning, led the Cavaliers (17-6, 9-2) to a 10-6 victory.
The Lady Jackets (10-3, 9-2) slugged for 17 hits and a 10-1 win. Morgan Pedley pitched a complete game, holding the Lady Cavaliers to four hits.
It was senior night for both Cavalier diamond squads. Christian Wenger, Boyette, Ethan Helsman and Chris McLean were recognized before the baseball game. Erin Pickens and Destiny Freeman are the only two Lady Cavalier seniors.
Early on in both contests, it looked as though Lee County would spoil both senior nights.
A two-out RBI single by Boyette plated Wenger, who had led off the Cavalier first with a walk, for a 1-0 Cavalier lead an inning in.
The Yellow Jackets (10-10, 5-6) took advantage of a pop up falling between the plate and the mound, then after Patrick Bethea's single and a strikeout, an error on a grounder which could've been an inning-ending double play, to load the bases in the second.
Matt Hutchens walked off Cavalier starter Ben Gaster for an RBI. Tyler Toro sent a sacrifice fly to right for another run and a 2-1 Jacket lead.
A wild pickoff throw to first let Bo Wicker score from third. Spencer Faulk's single scored one more run, as did Nolan Groce's liner double into left-center field, making it 5-1 Jackets.
The Cavaliers got a run back in the third, then put their own big inning up in the fourth.
Starting with a double by Ryan Holmes, the first four batters reached base driving Lee County starting pitcher Hampton Thomas from the mound. The Cavs kept going versus reliever Alston Scott.
Wenger nailed a single into center for two RBI, making it 5-4 Jackets.
Scott got a strikeout, then walked Helsman loading the bases with two outs.
Instead of the out to end the inning with Lee County hanging on to the lead, Boyette came through with a drive into left-center field giving the Cavaliers a 7-5 lead.
After holding the Jackets in the third and fourth innings, Gaster was relieved starting the fifth.
Lee County threatened to retake the lead as three Jackets reached, on two hits and an error, versus Alex Bullard. Pressley Hales scored on a Bethea grounder which turned into an error.
Holmes moved from left field to the mound and got the Cavaliers out of the jam - getting a strikeout, then a ground ball for a double play - leaving the tying and go-ahead runners stranded.
Holmes kept firing to keep the lead safe with a three-inning save. He allowed one hit and no walks while striking out five, including all three outs in the seventh.
The Cavaliers gave Holmes cushion to work with in the bottom of the sixth. Wenger, who had walked, reached on a fielder's choice and singled, walked and wound up scoring his fourth run of the game in a three-run Cavalier frame. Conner Showalter's two-out, two-RBI single made it 10-6.
Lee County will play its regular-season finale and Father's Day game hosting Westover at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Southern Lee entered Thursday evening a game behind Terry Sanford atop the Cape Fear Valley standings, although with a 10-9, eight-inning win in hand versus the Bulldogs. The Cavaliers will play for the outright CFVC season title at Terry Sanford at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Lady Jackets strung hits together for big innings, with their main senior slugger, Chandler Patterson, getting RBI hits in the first two innings, for their county-rivalry sweep.
With one out in the first, Patterson's single scored Tessa Wilson from second. Patterson took second on the throw to the plate, then third on an error. She scored on another Cavalier throwing error.
Lee County made it 5-1 in the second inning. Jacie Arrington hit a double starting the inning and scored on a wild pitch. Zizi Hammond's sacrifice fly scored Whitney Sanford, then a double by Patterson drove in Caroline Wilson. Wilson, the Lady Jacket catcher and leadoff hitter, went 4 for 5 with two runs on the evening.
The Lady Cavaliers loaded the bases versus Pedley in the fourth. Instead of one more hit to get back in the game, Pedley got a grounder to Arrington at first for the third out.
The Lady Jackets went on to tally five runs in the fifth for a 10-1 gap. Patterson and Arrington finished with three hits each. Arrington and Tessa Wilson scored two runs each.
Both softball teams will finish their regular seasons Saturday as well. Lee County hosts Westover at 4 p.m. Southern Lee plays at Terry Sanford at 3 p.m.