Cherryville smacks Hickory, 13-3
By RYAN HERMAN
CHERRYVILLE –– Things were relatively quiet for the first six innings.
Then, like an out-of-nowhere springtime thunderstom, Cherryville made it rain.
Brett Huff went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, left-hander Chandler Jenkins didn’t let a first-inning home run bother him and Post 100 plated six runs in the seventh to cruise to a 13-3, mercy-rule shortened win over Hickory Post 48 on Thursday.
Cherryville scored in all but two innings –– the first and the fifth –– but even with a 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh the Area IV Western Division contest seemed much closer than it was.
Then it wasn’t.
“It was like a methodical, get one here, get two there, kind of game in legion ball. Then we had the big inning there,” longtime Post 100 manager Bobby Dale Reynolds said. “Their depth probably played a little role in that, and we finally was able to stick a big number, a crooked number, up there.”
That six-spot in the seventh was Cherryville’s most productive inning against a Post 48 roster that had just 10 players, all of whom played, due to Bunker Hill’s players being unavailable as it prepares for the best-of-three NCHSAA state 2A championship series against Dunn Midway in Greensboro beginning today.
Post 100 (6-2, 2-1) was also a few guys short, as players from Lawndale Burns were not available due to a school function. But with an improved Jenkins on the mound and some bats behind him, those players weren’t missed.
Jenkins, a soon-to-be West Lincoln graduate headed for Gardner-Webb University, battled command issues in his final season with the Rebels but has seemed to settled down, Reynolds said.
The southpaw’s biggest mistake was a ball left up over the plate in a 3-1 count to Maiden’s Aaron Rudisill, who mashed it into the netting over the left-field fence for a quick 2-0 lead after one-half inning of play.
Jenkins struck out four and walked four, including the batter after Rudisill, and gave up three runs on six hits, but didn’t allow another run until the sixth.
“I thought Chandler pitched well,” said Reynolds, who pulled his starter after 108 pitches –– 59 for strikes. “He’s one of our main starters, and he’ll come back to the mound every five days, regardless of who we’re playing.”
Without Jenkins’ bat not in the lineup –– he hit a three-run home run in a loss at Kings Mountain on Monday and batted a team-high .400 for West Lincoln this spring –– Cherryville still managed to scored a season-best 13 runs on 11 hits.
For Reynolds, he’s only concerned with one thing at a time.
“If we can get six good innings (out of Jenkins) on the mound, then the heck with those other two at-bats. We’re just going to work on one thing, and he’s looked good so far. We’re pleased with him so far,” Reynolds said.
Dillon Harris singled with one out in the seventh to start the big inning, and was followed by a single from Caleb Narron and a walk by Josh Beam.
Huff hit a sharp grounder down the first-base line to plate two, then Jenkins, who moved to right field and into the lineup after Grey Goins took over on the bump in the seventh, drove home Beam on a sac fly but reached when the left fielder misplayed the ball.
Hunter Jackson followed with a sac fly that scored Huff and made it 11-3, and Randall Long came up with a pinch-hit RBI single to score Jenkins to make it 12-3.
Long took second when his hit was misplayed by the centerfielder, and moved to third on a wild pitch from Austin LaPierre.
Jonathan Carpenter ended it when he beat out the throw to first on a soft grounder to the shortstop.
“We just try to manage the game. … It’s a marathon, it’s not a race,” Reynolds said. “Tonight might not have been our best lineup or whatever, but we’ve got to feel everybody out.”
Cherryville took the lead for good in its half of the second on RBIs by Cody Dellinger and Narron, and a delayed double steal allowed Austin Wilkinson to score for the 3-2 advantage. Post 100 scored two runs in the third on a pair of wild pitches to go up 5-2, then Huff laced one into right to score Beam for a 6-2 lead after four.
Cherryville went up 7-3 in the sixth when Beam, who scored three runs, scored on an error.
Post 100 welcomes division foe Caldwell County Post 29, which had dropped two straight after a 7-0 start, tonight at 7. Carpenter, who went 7-3 with a 2.67 ERA for Cherryville this spring, will get the start for Cherryville, Reynolds said.
Notes: Post 100 stole five bases and played error-free defense. … Carpenter went 2-for-4, doubled, scored twice and walked once. Eight of the nine batting spots scored at least one run. … Tyler Burgess struck out five, including the side in the fifth, in the loss. Hickory dropped to 2-5 overall, 2-5 in division play.
Post 48 200 001 0––3 6 4
Post 100 032 101 6––13 11 0
Burgess, LaPierre (6) and Gantt; Jenkins, Goins (7) and Cook. W––Jenkins. L––Burgess.