Arms dominant in county twinbill
By RYAN HERMAN
PUMPKIN CENTER –– Gabe Ellis picked up where Mitchell Keener left off.
The North Lincoln Black right-hander tossed a two-hit gem to come away with a 2-0 win over Lincolnton Post 30 on Monday. It was the second time in as many games between the two teams that North Lincoln Black had shutout Post 30.
Keener tossed a four-hitter to win 11-0 on Saturday.
Monday’s game was much closer, but with the way Ellis pitched and his defense played behind him, a single run would have been enough.
“Man, their arms are good,” Lincolnton coach Brent Gates said.
Ellis took a perfect game into the fourth inning, where it was broken up by Jordon Easter’s single into right field. Easter stole second, then was sacrificed to third by Langdon Givens.
With Lane Hoover at bat, catcher Daniel Thompson fired to third to pickoff Easter. Ellis then retired Hoover swinging as he faced the minimum through four.
Post 30 managed a baserunner in the fifth when Austin Dellinger reached on Ellis’ own fielding error. He bounced back to retire the next six he faced until Hoover singled to right with one out in the seventh for his team’s second hit –– its sixth in 14 innings against North Lincoln Black.
Ellis got Devoshe Odum to popup and struck out Dellinger to end the contest, and any threat of Post 30 breaking up the shutout.
“I just hit my spots, worked ahead in the count and my defense played well behind me,” Ellis said.
The rising North Lincoln junior struck out five and walked none, and aside from the pickoff at third base his defense retired three via the outfield and 12 on the infield.
Ellis, who said he threw a no-hitter during a showcase baseball game once, gave all credit to his defense.
“They played really well behind me,” he said.
Ellis’ counterpart, Adam Campbell, also pitched well.
A wild pitch after a leadoff single by Seth McCroie gave North Lincoln Black a 1-0 lead after one, and a leadoff error that allowed Nick Solomita to reach in the bottom of the third gave it a 2-0 lead through three.
North Lincoln Black loaded the bases on Campbell in the second with hits by Keener, who was playing in left field, and Brady Heavner, which were sandwiched around a walk to Carson Roberts.
Campbell got Ellis to popup on the infield to evoke the infield fly rule for the first out, then got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat unharmed.
Solomita scored on a groundout by Aaron Connor, and he was the last baserunner Campbell allowed.
The right-hander retired the final nine he faced –– seven on ground balls –– and finished by allowing one earned run on three hits, one walk with a pair of strikeouts.
Odum pitched the seventh, and worked his way around a leadoff walk to Thompson and a single by Connor.
Roberts reached on an error in left field, but Curtis Fisher rebounded to throw out Thompson, who got caught between second and third on the fly ball.
Odum got Heavner to popup to the shortstop to end the game.
“I’m proud of the boys, they played well, especially considered we were beaten 11-0 on Saturday,” Gates said. “North Lincoln’s pitchers are just something else.”
LINCOLNTON POST 30 12, NORTH LINCOLN BLUE 4: Before Post 30 played North Lincoln Black, three of its pitchers combined to no-hit North Lincoln Blue.
Frank Hatchett, Fisher and Odum combined on the no-hitter, but Post 30 gave up four unearned runs in the first to fall behind 4-0.
Fisher, who got the start, walked two and hit one in the inning before being pulled for Hatchett. Post 30 also committed four of its six errors in the frame.
Hatchett walked one and struck out six in 4 1/3 innings in the win, and Odum pitched a perfect sixth and seventh with a strikeout.
Hoover went 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs, T.J. Queen had a hit, two RBIs, a walk and scored a run. Easter went 2-for-4 and scored two runs, and Givens went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run.
Lincolnton had 12 hits, and broke it open with a five-run fourth.