DENVER–Jesse Cadenhead`s one-out single to left field in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted East Lincoln to an 8-7 win over Cherryville last night.
The Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference game ran nearly four hours after going into extra innings tied at 7-7.
The game was a must-win for East Lincoln`s hopes in the SPC race as the Mustangs improved to 6-4 in the conference, 9-6 overall.
Cherryville, which entered the night with a one-game led in the standings, fell back into a first-place tie with Bessemer City at 7-3 in the SPC, 9-7 overall.
Bessemer City pulled even by beating Lincolnton 7-6.
Both teams had chances to break the game open in the extra innings, but the game wore on until the bottom of the 12th.
With one out and Grayson Schram on first with a fielder`s choice, Jess Guice singled off Cherryville reliever Steven Hoyle.
Cadenhead, 1-for-5 in his previous plate appearances, was up next, and he drilled a pitch through the left side of the infield for a hit.
â€œHe had been hitting the ball solid the entire game. It was just a matter of time before he came through with a big hit,â€ East Lincoln head coach Chris Matile said. â€œHe had been struggling with men on base the previous few games and heâ€™s stayed after to work on his hitting,â€ he added.
Schram easily beat the relay throw from left fielder Al Benson to cross home plate with the winning run.
Mitchell Lynch, who worked the top of the 12th in relief, got the pitching win. Lynch was the fourth East Lincoln pitch of the night.
Hoyle, who relieved Cherryville starter Jeremy Craft in the fifth and pitched the rest of the way, got the loss.
The Ironmen went ahead briefly 7-6 in the top of the 10th when Seth
Freeman scored from third on a wild pitch by Jake Black.
However, the Mustangs tied the game again in their half of the 10th on a bases loaded walk to Jesse Guice.
With the bases still loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Cadenhead flied out to center to retire the side.
The Mustangs also had a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 11th, but with runners at the corners and two outs, Cherryville shortstop Tripp McSwain backhanded a grounder by pinch hitter Bradley Morris in the hole and threw to first in time to get the runner on a close play.
T.J. Chapman went 3-for-6 and scored twice to lead East Lincoln. Aaron Dishman went 2-for-4 in the role of DH. Clint Hyde hit a two-RBI double in East Lincoln`s four-run second inning.
For Cherryville, Daniel Martin went 3-for-5 with two RBI. However, East Lincoln pitchers controlled the top of the Cherryville batting order, and their lack of production hurt the Ironmen.
Lead-off hitter McSwain went 0-for-4 and rapped into a double play. Hoyle, the No. 3 hitter and team leader in homers and RBI, went 1-for-4 and also hit into a double play in the 11th after Cherryvillle got the lead-off batter on base.
The win gave East Lincoln a regular season sweep of Cherryville, and the two games were decided by a total of three runs. East won 5-3 in the first meeting.
â€œI think itâ€™s two evenly matched teams. All around the board, weâ€™re pretty similar. We play a similar style of baseball, so we get together what you see is a result of that,â€ Matile said.
â€œWe knew coming into this game, that every game from here on out is a must-win. If we can stay at four losses the rest of the way, I think we can be in the running at the end,â€ Matile said.
by Mike Powell