JV Cavs lose a heartbreaker
In a battle of young and slightly older East Rutherford Cavaliers, the JV Cavs proved to be a tall task for their varsity counterparts Wednesday night at McNair Field in the 2013 East Rutherford Easter Tournament semifinals. But in the end, the older bunch came away with the 6-5 win in eight innings.
"This was awesome," JV head coach Preston Allen said after the game. "It just shows the level of talent that we have in this program ... nobody expected that we would do this."
"This was a good game. I enjoyed watching the JV's get after it," varsity head coach Bobby Reynolds said. "I was real impressed with the way they played."
The JV Cavs got to varsity starter Dylan Cromer early. A.J. Simmons started the game with a walk and eventually moved to third on a Cameron Hodge sacrifice fly. Reese Oliver followed with a double into left to plate Simmons for an early 1-0 lead.
Ethan Stewart controlled the mounds for the JV Cavs and navigated his way through the varsity lineup allowing just one baserunner in the first two innings.
The JV Cavs threatened again in the third inning when Cole Baldwin led off the inning with a triple into left-center field. A base hit from Simmons scored Baldwin to stretch the JV lead to 2-0.
Seth Lowery, Hodge and Oliver put together a series of three more singles that resulted in another run for the JV Cavs.
Tripp Hamrick, who took over early in the second inning for Cromer, picked off a pinch runner at second to end the JV rally and halt the JV lead at 3-0.
The varsity squad chipped away at the JV lead with a John Bennett RBI single that scored James Hunt. Then Hamrick, who reached on a walk, scored from second base on a wild pitch from Stewart to make the score 3-2 in favor of the JV Cavs.
John Bennett and Jordan Strickland also scored in the third to give the varsity squad their first lead of the game at 4-3.
The JV Cavs remained looked poised to die the game in the fifth when Simmons led off with a triple into right field, but after the next two were retired in order.
Simmons was caught trying to steal home to end the threat.
In the sixth inning, however, Caleb Green roped a triple of his own of over the centerfielder’s head off of varsity reliever Brandon Wellmon to score Hodge and Tucker Toney putting the JV Cavs back on top 5-4.
The excitement settled until the bottom of the seventh when the game crept towards 11 p.m.
Chase Jenkins led off the inning for the varsity team with a walk and found his way to third base with two outs in the inning.
Down to their final out with Bennett at the plate, the JV cather Ethan Trull mishandled a Green offering that bounced back into the field of play. Jenkins bolted for the plate. Green corralled the ball, flicked it to Trull who applied the tag on Jenkins a split-second too late. Jenkins was called safe to tie the score at 5-5.
Bennett singled to left but Strickland flew out to end the inning and send the game to extra innings.
The varsity Cavaliers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the eighth, but with the infield in, third baseman Cole Baldwin fielded a Wellmon grounder tagged third and fired home to make it first and third with two outs.
But the next batter, James Hunt, ended the game with a single to left that scored Will Randall and gave the varsity Cavaliers the 6-5 win.
"I thnk the JV's did a good job and outplayed us," Reynolds said after the game. "We just came out on the lucky end of the score."
"I was worried that they could beat us by 10 runs but we battled and I think we had a bad call at home," Allen said. "But I'll just leave it at that ... I'm just so proud of my team."
Even with the close loss, the JV's wanted the win ... badly.
"I'm proud but I am a little dissappointed," Allen said. "The boys are tore up because they didn't win, but what can you do?"
The varsity Cavs move into the championship game today at 4 p.m. against Alexander Central while the JV Cavs play in the third-place game against South Caldwell at 2 p.m.
Other action: The Watauga Pioneers (3-9) scored a 10-0 mercy-rule win over Gaston Christian (4-9). Watauga took advantage of six Eagle errors and Chance Richards fired a four hit-complete game shutout for the win,
The Pioneers now move on to face the R.S. Chase winner today at noon while Gaston Christian will open the day’s action at 10 a.m.
Alexander Central moved into today’s championship game with a win over South Caldwell.