Cavaliers manufacture win, reach round of 16
Southern Lee's had little trouble putting runs on the board through most of its 19 baseball victories leading up to Saturday afternoon's state playoff game at Northern Nash.
With no hits versus the Knights through three innings, then trailing 2-1 to the Knights going to the fifth inning, the Cavaliers manufactured offense and it was pretty enough to keep their season going with a 4-2 victory.
It is the second road victory of the state playoffs for the Cavaliers (20-8). They rallied from 4-0 down at West Craven in the first round Wednesday night, winning 7-4.
The hole was never that deep at Northern Nash as Knight starter Tyler Barrett traded zeroes with Cavalier starting pitcher Ben Gaster for three innings.
The Knights put two runners on in the first but got nothing, then again in the third when Ryan Holmes made a charging, diving catch on a fly into short left field to end the inning.
Cullen Boyette's double, as he legged out what looked like a plain base hit into left field, came with an out in Cavalier fourth and was Southern Lee's first hit off Barrett.
With two down, Conner Showalter singled, slashing a grounder by the shortstop and into left plating Boyette from third and giving the Cavaliers a lead.
Northern Nash answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, one coming on a double steal starting with runners on the corners, then the go-ahead run on a steal of third and error by Holmes in left allowing the runner to score.
The Cavaliers kept putting runners on, and kept finding ways to capitalize.
In the fifth, Turtle Windish drew a two-out walk and pinch-runner Chris McLean stole second.
Ethan Helsman battled to a full count and drilled a shot into left. A Knight error made sure McLean scored and let Helsman into second.
The 2-2 score carried into the sixth as Holmes relieved Gaster starting the Knight fifth and wound up shutting down the home side through the last three innings.
The Cavaliers got two walks and a single to load the bases with no outs in the sixth. They didn't need another hit to take the lead.
Noah Terhune hit a chopper to shortstop which was good to plate Maxx Taylor on a fielder's choice.
Cody Ellis laid down a good suicide squeeze bunt, with Holmes racing down the line to score, making it 4-2 Cavaliers.
Holmes allowed a single and a walk as the only Knights to reach down the stretch.
The third round of the NCHSAA 3A playoffs is scheduled for Tuesday.