Cavs stay hot, go to 3-0 start
Southern Lee and Union Pines had their scheduled baseball games called off Tuesday. That, nor the temperature around 40 degrees, stopped the Cavaliers and Vikings, who decided to get a game in anyway at Cavalier Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
Southern Lee (3-0) got solid pitching from starter Maxx Taylor, then Alex Bullard and Ben Gaster protecting the lead out of the bullpen. The Cavs also took better care of the baseball in the cold, tight conditions for an 11-4 win over the Vikings (1-2).
With seven Viking errors along the way, the Cavaliers made the most of five hits and pushed at least one run across in five of their six frames.
After Taylor tossed a quick three-up, three-down Viking first, leadoff hitter Ryan Holmes singled and was bunted over a bag by Christian Wenger. Third-place hitter Ethan Helsman singled sharply into centerfield and Holmes slid around a tag attempt at the plate for the first run.
An error on a grounder by Gaster allowed Helsman to score and Cullen Boyette, who reached by being plunked, scored on a ground out off Conner Showalter's bat making it 3-0 Cavs.
After another easy inning by Taylor, Cody Ellis reached base on an error on a grounder to shortstop, then came around to score thanks to a wild pitch, a fielders choice and another wild pitch making it 4-0 Southern Lee through two innings.
Union Pines struck for four runs on five hits, three being infield singles, in the third. Kyle Robinson's two-out single, a grounder to hole at shortstop, scored Dalton Garner tying the game.
The Cavaliers got the four runs right back. The Vikings were an out away from keeping it 4-4 but, with Cavs on second and third, Showalter hit a liner into center, and by a diving attempt at a catch, for a two-run double. The Cavs kept going, thanks to two walks and two errors, to make it an 8-4 lead.
The Cavs added an unearned run in the fourth, then pinch-hitter Marcos Collazo hit a two-out, two-run single, a fly falling in shallow center, scoring Boyette and Taylor for an 11-4 lead in the sixth.
Taylor pitched four innings and got the win. Bullard worked around two Vikings on base for a scoreless fifth. Gaster allowed a walk for the only Viking to reach base in the sixth or seventh. The Vikings got five of their six hits in the third-inning rally.
Boyette reached with a hit-by-pitch, a single, a dropped fly to left and a walk and came around to score four runs. Showalter, in the seventh spot of the Cav order, drove in three RBI.
With the possibility of worse weather on Thursday, Southern Lee and Pinecrest (2-0) moved their ballgame up 24 hours, to 5 p.m. today in Southern Pines. The Patriots opened their season last week with a 6-1 win over Asheboro and a 10-5 win versus Lee County.
The Cavaliers, defending season co-champions in the CFVC along with Gray's Creek, open Cape Fear Valley Conference play with a trip to Douglas Byrd this coming Tuesday.