DENVER –– Lincoln County Post 455 was in need of something big, and Nick Savoie gave it just what it needed.
Savoie threw six poised innings and hit a grand slam to help the Cardinals salvage their weekend, as they avenged Friday’s ugly division-opening loss to the Gaston Braves with an 11-1 seven-inning win over Union County Post 535 on Saturday night.
Post 455 managed just three hits to 18 strikeouts in a 9-2 setback to open Area IV Eastern Division play on Friday.
The loss was the Cardinals’ fourth in their first five games, and left them wanting something positive early.
They got it against Post 535.
“Savoie pitched a heck of a game,” said Post 455 manager Bruce Bolick, who’s starter scattered three hits across six strong innings. “We’ll just gain momentum as we go. I think it was a momentum booster.”
While Union County’s hitters had trouble with Savoie, Lincoln County (2-4, 1-1) couldn’t figure out Braves starter Alon Smith.
The hard-throwing lefty left with a 4-2 lead after six strong innings. While on the bump Smith gave up just two hits –– both back-to-back in the third –– and fanned 14.
Bryan Seymour’s two-run home run in the third, which gave the Cardinals the lead, albeit briefly, was the only real threat ever posed to Smith. Alex Pickeral singled off him a batter later, but Smith got Savoie to roll into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Braves (2-1, 2-0) took the lead for good with a three-run fourth, then added three more in the eighth for a 7-2 lead.
Mason Smith doubled on the game’s first pitch for the Braves, then hit a solo home run in the third for the game’s first run. Tyler Price had two hits and drove in two on a double in the eighth, and Tanner Muse hit two doubles, with the last producing a run in the eighth.
In the ninth things got ugly for Post 455. Chase Hannifin, Adam Andrew and Logan Edgerton each reached on fielding errors to start the inning. Hannifin scored on a bases-loaded walk, and Hannifin scored on hit batter with the bases loaded.
Justin Norton, who took the pitching loss with four runs allowed, three earned, on eight hits with strikeouts in six innings, singled in the ninth for Lincoln County’s third and final hit.
Saturday’s game was a 180-degree turnaround. The Cardinals scored three runs in the fourth and broke it open with seven runs in the fifth while Savoie did his work on the mound.
In addition to Savoie’s grand slam, Chase Watson drove in a pair with a triple in the fifth.
Although the affair was one-handed, Bolick sees Friday’s loss as a measuring stick to where his team currently stands.
“We faced a very good team who’s a potential contender, maybe for (the) Area IV (title),” Bolick said. “Right now, I’d rate (the Braves) No. 1, if I had to pick. It’s not bad to face a club like that and see where you are.”
CHERRYVILLE 10, GASTONIA 7, 10 INN.: At Gastonia, Post 100 scored four runs in the 10th inning and nine over the final three to win in extras.
Cody Dellinger and Dalton Towery each had a two-out, two-run hit in the 10th while Josh Beam picked up the pitching win in relief. Post 100 trailed 6-1 before its rally.
Cherryville (2-1) played a doubleheader at Randolph County on Sunday, which wasn’t reported. Post 100 travels to Kings Mountain today.