GASTONIA — Gastonia Post 23 left-hander Jared Wallace befuddled the Lincoln County Cardinals with off-speed and breaking pitches on Wednesday, and led Post 23 to a 5-1 win in Area IV play.
“He was crafty,” Lincoln County head coach Bruce Bolick said. “We hit the ball pretty well, but with that crafty pitcher we jumped on the first pitch too quickly, and they turned into pop-flies.”
Wallace pitched a complete game for Post 23 but struck out only one Lincoln County batter. The Cardinals hit fly balls that were easily fielded by the Post 23 defense eight times during the game.
“When you’re playing in a big park like this, you get a lot of pop-flies,” Bolick said. “It could be a learning experience for us, playing in a big ballpark and a pitcher who doesn’t throw very hard.”
Center field at Sims Legion Park is marked at 380 feet while the two corners are marked at 335 feet.
The Cardinals had seven hits and tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the second. Jacob Hoover led off the top of the second with a single to right field off Wallace’s first offering of the inning. Hoover advanced to second base on a balk and moved to third on Danny Sullivan’s sacrifice fly. Clayton Dellinger scorched a one-out ground ball to right field for an RBI-single and Lincoln County’s lone run of the game.
Left-hander Hayden Deal started on the mound for the Cardinals. He struck out four batters in 5.1 innings of work, and was relieved by Bradley Hallman.
The Cardinals left the bases loaded in the top of the second. After Dellinger’s RBI-single, Dylan Thompson hit a two-out single to put runners at first and second and Clay Hodges showed remarkable speed as he hit a ground ball to second base but was able to beat the throw to reach first safely and load the bases. The inning ended when short stop Randal Ortiz flew out to right field.
Post 23 scored one run in the bottom of the first, one run in the second, one run in the fifth and two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Cardinals (2-9, 2-4) travel to Hickory today at 7 p.m. Hickory is on top of the Area III standings with a 7-0 overall record and a 6-0 record in division play.