Take your base!
R-S Central didn’t take full advantage of their opportunities against East Rutherford in an early game Thursday night in Rutherfordton, but they did plenty as they swept the season series against the Cavaliers with an 8-2 win.
The story of the night were the 10 free baserunners allowed by East Rutherford, six batters were hit by pitches and four walked.
“We aren’t a team that’s going to hit 3-4 homeruns every night so we have to manufacture runs and I think we really bought into that tonight,” Central head coach Chadd Fowler said after the win.
“You can’t hit six batters, walk four batters and make four errors,” East Rutherford head coach Bobby Reynolds added. “That’s what we did and that adds up to 14 free baserunners.”
Despite a Joel McDaniel triple to start the night for Central (11-5, 5-2), three hit batters and a walk, East Rutherford starter Brock Helton allowed just one run in the first inning thanks to a pick-off play and an inning-ending double play.
East (11-5, 3-4) took the lead in the third when they loaded the bases with no outs before Helton scored two on a double play gone wrong for the Hilltoppers.
Helton took the 2-1 lead into the third but lasted only two outs after allowing one more run, walking two more Hilltoppers and hitting his fifth batter of the night.
Zach Norville took advantage of the free baserunners and knocked a grounder to short that was mishandled allowing two Hilltoppers to score and regain the lead at 4-2.
Lance Greene added RBI singles in the fourth and sixth inning to go along with two other Hilltopper runs in the sixth to give Central the 8-2 win and the season sweep.
Conner Dailey went the distance for Central earning his second win of the season over his cross-town rival. Thursday night wasn’t a shutout like his first outing, but he did strike out four batters and allow just four hits. More importantly, he didn’t allow a single free pass through his seven innings.
“We were really actually in it until the end and you have to give Conner Dailey a lot of credit,” Reynolds said. “He walked nobody and he stayed in the framework of the plate. It’s the same thing he did last time and maybe he’s just a little better than us.”
“Conner pitched great and we got baserunners on,” Fowler said. “This is a great way to get back into conference play.”
Greene led the charge for Central going 2-2 with two RBIs while Tyler Morgan finished the night 2-4 scoring two runs.
Tripp Hamrick had two of the four hits for East Rutherford.
The win puts R-S Central squarely in third place in the conference behind Burns and Shelby.
“The kids are up beat and all conference games are important,” Fowler said. “We got a little momentum going and hopefully we can continue that in the second half.”
R-S Central returns to play Tuesday when they travel to Chase for another conference match-up while East Rutherford hosts Patton. Both games are set for 7 p.m.