CHERRYVILLEâ€”As Post 100 coach Bobby Reynolds noted, Pineville came into Fraley Field Tuesday night with a “little bit of a chip on their shoulder.”
Actually, it was more than a little chip considering Post 337`s lack of success against Cherryville.
Pineville was swept by Cherryville in last year`s Area Four title series and lost again to its nemesis in the 2003 state tournament championship game.
This season started out the same way, with Post 100 beating Pineville in 16 innings in the first meeting on June 3.
But the pattern did not repeat itself in game two. Three Pineville pitchers combined to strike out 17 batters, and shortstop Reid Fronk led a 17-hit attack as the Area Four-Eastern Division leaders cruised to an 8-2 win.
The most satisfied Pineville player had to be starting pitcher Charles Vartanian, who lost twice to Cherryville in last year`s playoffs, including the state final. This time, the big righthander survived a shaky first inning to record 11 strikeouts in six innings of work.
Vartanian exited with a 5-2 lead, and relievers Kevin Spain (four strikeouts in two innings) and Joey Cutler protected it.
Fronk also did his part to end Cherryville`s run against Pineville. The Post 337 shortstop tripled in a run in the fifth to break a 2-2 tie, then put the game out of reach for good with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.
For the game, Fronk was 3-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored. Justin Rummage also had three hits for Pineville (9-1,11-2) and scored twice.
Cherryville broke on top 2-0 in the first inning on a single by Steven Hoyle and a double by Justin Keever.
But the promising start faded as Vartanian settled in and dominated the next five innings with his money pitch, a slider on the outside of the plate. Cherryville got three of its seven hits in the first inning.
Given the lack of offense, Post 100 starting pitcher Steven Justice did the best he could. He gave up 10 hits and five runs in eight innings, but was the victim of some bloop singles and some grounders that found the holes in the infield.
It was the first loss of the season for Justice (2-1), who carried a 2.077 ERA into the game.
Cherryville, which has dropped its last four home games, fell to 3-5 in the divison and 6-6 overall.
Post 100 notes: Cherryville`s road game against Denver Monday night was rained out and rescheduled for June 29. … The next game for Post 100 is Thursday night against Lake Norman at Bandys High School. … Longtime Cherryville sportswriter Ronald “Scoop” Kiser attended the game and was recognized by PA announcer Danny Eaker. Kiser, 73, has been ill for several months but his recovery is going well.by Mike Powell