Hilltoppers edge Chase, 4-2
It was night of miscues, and the R-S Central Hilltoppers took advantage of more of them as they escaped Chase Thursday night with a 4-2 win.
Five errors by the Trojans accounted for all four of R-S Central's unearned runs.
"Our kids competed really hard and we're able to get on base and capitalize on their mistakes," R-S Central head coach Chadd Fowler said. "We just scratched enough to get it done."
"This type of game is tough," Chase head coach Tony Wall said. "We put ourselves in a position to win the ball game but we just didn't finish.
"I told my guys that we're just as close to being 4-1 in this conference are we are being 1-4."
The fielding troubles started early for Chase as back-to-back, two-out errors by third baseman Robbie Evans put two HIlltoppers on first and third, but Chase hurler Josh Epley forced a pop-up by Dustin McEntire to end the threat.
Chase (2-5, 1-4 SMAC) threatened to score first in the second inning after an error and a base hit by Caleb Lacaster put runners on first and second with no outs.
A sacrifice bunt by Jack White moved both runners into scoring position, but Dailey recorded back-to-back strikeouts to escape the inning unscathed.
Epley battle control issues in the third hitting three consecutive batters to load the bases with one out.
A botched squeeze play resulted in a force out at the plate for the second out, but a bases loaded walk to Dailey brought Will Owens across the plate for the game’s first run. Then a throwing error by the shortstop allowed Lance Greene and Dustin McEntire to score and stretch the lead to 3-0 before the Trojans escaped the inning.
Chase appeared poised to cut into the lead in the bottom half of the frame after a leadoff double by Geoffrey Rollins, a hit batter and a double steal put runners on second and third with one out. But again, worked out of the jam and kept the home team off the board.
Chase took advantage of a Central error in the fifth inning when Robbie Evans laced an RBI single into center field to score Hunter Henson and cut the HIlltoppers’ lead to 3-1.
Central (5-2, 1-2 SMAC) missed an opportunity to break the game open with the bases loaded and just one out in the sixth inning, but put another unearned run on the board in the seventh after Lance Greene doubled to left, Dylan Gallman entered the game to pinch run and Chase cather Hunter Henson threw the ball into left field trying to catch Gallman stealing third. Gallman trotted home to make the lead 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Dailey’s control was shaky to start the inning as he walked the first two batter and hit hit the third to load the bases with no outs. Fowler responded by pulling Dailey from the mound and inserting McEntire, the senior right-hander, to face Chase’s third, fourth and fifth batters in the order.
"Conner threw well all night but he was just out of gas," Fowler said.
McEntire got Evans to line out to third and Epley to strike out swinging, but Lancaster drew a walk to reduce the lead to 4-2.
Jack White followed Lancaster but skied out to right field to end the game.
"There's no doubt that my boys want it," Wall said. "Seeing them fight like at the end does make me walk away with some positives from tonight."
Dailey earned the win pitching six full innings, allowing one earned run and striking out six while Epley was tagged with the loss despite allowing just three hits and no earned runs while striking out eight.
"Every time Josh goes on the mound he gives us that type of effort," Wall said. "He's one of the best arms to be put on that mound for any team."
Lancaster was the only player on the night with multiple hits (2).
Central returns home Friday night to face Kings Mountain while Chase travels to Kings Mountain on Tuesday. Both games are set for 7 p.m.
R-S CENTRAL 4, CHASE 2
^123^456^7 — R H E
RSC^003^000^1 — 4 3 2
CHS^000^010^1 — 2 5 5
WP: Conner Dailey
LP: Josh Epley
SV: Dustin McEntire