Cavaliers win Chatlee title
Combining a 16-hit attack and yet another shutout, the fourth in a six-game win streak, Southern Lee rolled to the championship of the Chatlee Boat and Marine Easter Invitational Saturday night, beating Massaponax (Va.) 10-0 in six innings.
Derek Jackson, after getting the win on the mound in an 8-2 Cavalier win over Surry Central Friday night, went 3-for-3 with a homer, two doubles, three runs and three RBI to earn tournament MVP. Connor Gaines, who pitched a complete game in the final, along with Caleb Gaster and Jared Kehagias made the all-tournament team.
Southern Lee head coach David Miller wants the Cavalier success from the tourney to carry over into the second half of Southern's Cape Fear Valley season. The Cavaliers (11-3, 5-1) are in a tight league race with Gray's Creek (5-1) and Union Pines (4-1).
"We have a big stretch coming up these next three weeks, trying to win the conference and get the best playoff seeding we can get," Miller said.
Taking home the trophy is always exciting, the Cavalier coach said, especially for the Cavalier seniors, who won the Chatlee tournament for the first time in three tries. Taking this momentum into bigger games will be the real key, he said.
Every Cavalier starter got at least one hit. The top and middle of the Cav order got all sorts of momentum going as Kehagias went 2-for-3, Freddy McCollum went 2-for-4, Ethan Helsman went 2-for-4, Jackson was MVP in the clean-up spot as his two-run homer made it 5-0 in the fifth, and Cullen Boyette went 2-for-3.
In the Cavalier first, a two-out double by Jackson, a liner into the left-center field gap, plated Kehagias.
Massaponax put two runners aboard in the first against Gaines, then again in the third, but the Cavs worked out of both jams.
After the first two Panthers reached base in the third, Boyette fielded a grounder at third, stepped on his bag and fired to first for an important double play.
With the Cavs ahead 2-0 in the Massaponax fourth, a play at the plate kept the Panthers off the board. With a Panther on first and on a hit to the warning track in right, Ryan Holmes threw to the infield. Jackson, the first baseman, picked up the unorthodox relay between the mound and shortstop position but threw home in time for Helsman to make the tag.
Holmes made another odd, but this time stronger, throw from right in the Massaponax second, fielding a sharp liner on a hop and throwing to first for the putout by a half-stride to retire the side.
The Cavs turned the game into a rout in the fifth and sixth innings. After having just a man on first and two down, two stolen bases by Kehagias led to a run on a single by Helsman.
Jackson followed with a drive launched over the left field fence making it 5-0 Cavaliers.
Eleven Cavs came to the plate in the sixth. McCollum drove in Christian Wenger with a double. Helsman knocked a two-RBI single as did Gaines, making it 10-0.
Joining the four Cavaliers on the all-tournament team were Emmitt Carden and Jeffrey Thompson of Union Pines, Shane Farnsworth and Micah Welborn from Grace Christian, Alex Branham and Mike Gallagher from Massaponax, Dillon Andrews from O'Neal, Kirby Lambert from North Moore, Calvin Hawk from Enloe and Cole Fowler of Surry Central.
Massaponax, Grace Christian and Union Pines went 2-1 in the tourney.
The Cavaliers, led by Gaines, Jackson, Gaster and Wenger on the mound, allowed two runs in the tournament.
"We have four quality guys. Each of them have their strengths. They each can help us out and we have confidence putting them out there in any situation," Miller said.
With spring break done, the Cavs have another busy week on the diamond coming up. Southern Lee hosts Western Harnett for a CFVC game Tuesday at 7 p.m., followed by a game at Jack Britt Wednesday and hosting Lee County Thursday.