Brian Ebert tags out John Sisk at third base. Ebert made several standout plays to keep the Wolves close. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
Left-hander Dustin Weaver threw six strong innings for the Wolves in Thursdayâ€™s 4-2 loss to the No. 1 team in the state the East Rutherford Cavaliers. Weaver allowed seven hits and surrendered three earned runs for Lincolnton. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
Rutherfordâ€™s star Chad Flack made certain Lincolntonâ€™s game effort would fall short on Thursday in the Cavaliersâ€™ 4-2 victory.
Flack, a UNC signee, blasted a seventh-inning homer for an insurance run to put the Cavaliers up 4-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
But the Wolves in the bottom of the seventh threatened to do damage. Flack, throwing for the Cavs surrendered, back-to-back singles to Colby Burgin and Justin Keever.
Will Fox came to the plate as the potential winning run, but struck out for the first out. A wild pitch from Flack advanced Burgin and Keever to second and third.
Bradley Dalrymple swung at a possible ball four with a full-count to give the Cavs two outs. Evan Wise reached on an error that scored Burgin to narrow the margin to 4-2.
Lincolnton head coach Bobby Martin inserted Matt Kuster into the lineup for Justin Green. Kuster popped out to the left-side of the infield to end the contest.
The Wolves stayed in the game with solid defense by senior Brian Ebert and Green.
Green made two leaping plays at second base on linedrives to rob basehits in the early innings.
In the top of the sixth inning, Ebert made a diving stab to his left and threw out Jeff McCracken.
Stephen Harris, a UNCC signee, had stroked a double to lead off the inning for East Rutherford.
After a Chris Whittemore fielderâ€™s choice advanced pinch-runner Chris Kimbrell to third, a Doug Wood liner over second base scored Kimbrell for a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lincolnton was primed for a breakout inning. A Keever fielderâ€™s choice advanced Burgin to third and made the second out.
Will Fox was then hit by a pitch. Dalrymple blooped a ball into short center to score Burgin and advanced Fox.
The Burgin run made the score 2-1 East Rutherford.
Wise was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Blake Bostic was removed by East Rutherfordâ€™s Coach Bobby Dale Reynolds.
Reynolds moved Whittemore to the mound and he was able to end in the inning on a Wolvesâ€™ groundout.
The inning was a microcosm of the game for the Wolves as they stranded 11 base runners.
â€œWe left too many on- six out of seven innings, if not every inning,â€ Lincolnton head coach Bobby Martin said.
â€œWe just didnâ€™t get the clutch hit we needed tonight,â€ Martin said.
The Cavaliers, who scored in the top of the first, did not have the same problem, stranding only five.
Lincolnton got a great effort from southpaw Dustin Weaver on the mound.
Despite the loss, Weaver held the No. 1 team in the state in 2A competition to three earned runs, while giving up seven hits in 6 innings worked.
Bostic for East Rutherford, a player Reynolds moved up from JV, earned the win.
â€œThey threw the Weaver kid and he pitched well for Lincolnton,â€ Reynolds said.
Martin felt the same sentiments as Reynolds.
â€œWeaver did a good job for me. This was a good, good game between the 1 and 2 teams in the league,â€ he said.
Leading hitters for Lincolnton were Burgin who went 3-for-4 and Dalrymple who went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
For the Cavaliers: Flack went 2-for-4, while teammate Harris went 3-for-4 with a RBI.
The win improves East Rutherfordâ€™s record to 22-2 and completes an undefeated run for the Cavs since Easter break.
The loss drops Lincolnton to 16-8 overall and 10-4 in the MW2A.
Despite the outcome and a sluggish 1-5 start to the season, Martin is thrilled with his teamâ€™s play.
â€œThey have played great. Iâ€™m ecstatic that after that start, weâ€™re 15-3 in the last 18 games. That ainâ€™t too shabby,â€ he said.
â€œTheyâ€™ve really come together and believe in theirselves,â€ Martin said.
Lincolnton will host a first round game in the Midwest 2A Conference Tournament on Monday at 7 p.m. as a reward for finishing second in the conference.by John Mark Brooks