Cavaliers rout Lee County, 11-1
Facing its county rival for the first time this season, Southern Lee's baseball squad kept rolling along Thursday night, beating visiting Lee County 11-1 in five innings.
The Cavaliers (14-3) made it three wins in three days and nine straight victories dating back to March 22. The Cavs, with tall righty Connor Gaines (5-2) firing a complete game against the Yellow Jackets (5-11), have allowed eight runs in the 9-0 streak.
Lee County, coming off Tri-Nine Conference setbacks on Tuesday and Wednesday, capitalized on a Cavalier error to get on the board first.
Leadoff hitter Brandon O'Quinn raced around to second on a dropped fly ball in short left field. The next Jacket up, Patrick Bethea, singled up the middle and O'Quinn scored.
Lee County swept Southern Lee last season and had won three straight in the series. The Jacket lead this time was short-lived as the Cavaliers answered with two unearned runs in the home half of the first and kept finding all sorts of ways to score the rest of the night.
Jacket pitcher Alex Scott had two outs and no Cavs on base when Ethan Helsman reached via an error on a grounder to short. Derek Jackson drew a walk. Cullen Boyette followed with a drive one-hopping the fence in center for a two-run double.
After another Cavalier run in the second, Boyette drilled a solo homer to left with two out in the Southern Lee third.
Combined with Boyette's grand slam and six-RBI game in the Cavs' 11-0 win at Jack Britt the previous night, Boyette had nine RBI in a span of six at-bats.
The Jackets managed five hits and two walks against Gaines, but no more runs after the first inning. Gaines finished with six strikeouts. O'Quinn led the Jackets going 2-for-3.
The Cavs added to their lead in the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Helsman singled into center driving in Ryan Holmes and Jared Kehagias. A double steal, by Freddy McCollum and Chris McLean - courtesy-running for Helsman - plus a Jacket error allowed two more Cavalier runs for an 8-1 lead.
In the fifth, McCollum had an RBI single and Helsman had another two-RBI single.
Kehagias, at the top of the Cavalier order, went 3-for-3 with two runs. Holmes, in the ninth spot, had a single, a hit by pitch and reached on an error and scored three runs.
Lee County, at 3-8 in conference play, gets back into Tri-Nine play hosting Fuquay-Varina Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Southern Lee, at 6-1 in the Cape Fear Valley and leading Union Pines and Gray's Creek by a half-game, goes to Westover Tuesday for a 7 p.m. start. Game two of the Cavaliers vs. Yellow Jackets is set for Saturday, April 20 at Lee County at 4 p.m.