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On the brink

Second baseman Caleb Narron gets a forceout at second.

Second baseman Caleb Narron gets a forceout at second.

Post 100 down 2-0 to Gaston

By RYAN HERMAN
Sports Editor
CHERRYVILLE –– The Gaston Braves just keep rolling, and now they have Cherryville Post 100 on the brink.
Matt Grimmet cruised through the first six innings, Derek Perry and Chase Hannifin had three hits and a home run each, and the Braves put it to Post 100 for the second straight night with a 12-3 win Tuesday to put Cherryville’s season on the ropes.
Gaston (20-1), which won its 20th straight game Tuesday after dropping its season opener to Post 100 back in May, took the opener on Monday 12-2.
With their Game 2 win, the Braves have forced Post 100 (18-14) to the brink of elimination in the Area IV best-of-five quarterfinal series.
Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. today at Belmont South Point.
“We’ve basically got outpitched, got outhit and outfielded in all three aspects,” longtime Cherryville manager Bobby Dale Reynolds said. “When you get beat in those three aspects it’s generally not a good result.”
Grimmet was nearly untouchable through the first six innings on his way to a complete-game win.
The right-hander had faced one over the minimum before Brett Huff’s double to lead off the seventh, and needed just 54 pitches to get through the first 18 outs.
Josh Beam’s two-out single broke up Grimmet’s perfect-game and no-hit bids with two outs in the third. Grimmet retired the next seven before Jonathan Carpenter led off the sixth with a single, but he was erased on a 6-3 double play.
Huff’s double led to a pair of runs for Post 100 in the seventh, but all that did was trim Gaston’s seven-run lead down to five. Huff scored on Perry’s fielding error on Chandler Jenkins’ ground ball to second, and Jenkins scored on Brandon Alexander’s RBI single to make it 7-2.
In the eighth the Braves answered with a two-run home run by Hannifin, and extended their lead on three straight run-scoring hits from Aaron Mauldin, Mason Smith and Perry.
Perry’s solo shot in the sixth made it 7-0 in favor of the Braves.
Grimmet went the distance, allowing three runs, two earned, on nine hits, walked none and struck out seven.
“We never could scratch any runs (across) early and cut that deficit,” Reynolds said. “It was a lack of a little bit of everything, and credit to their pitchers and making the pitches.”
Cherryville starter Dillon Harris was roughed up in the first inning, but left with minimum damage after allowing consecutive singles to Mauldin, Smith and Perry to start this one off. An error on the shortstop Carpenter allowed a run to cross, and an RBI fielder’s choice by Tanner Muse plated the first run for an early 2-0 lead.
Mitch Painter, who had two home runs and eight RBIs in Game 1, plated his ninth run of the series with a single in the third as Gaston again got back-to-back-to-back hits off Harris. The Post 100 right-hander again allowed the first three to reach in the fifth, and all three scored. Muse doubled home a run and later scored on an error, and Hannifin scored on a wild pitch.
Harris, who was replaced by Grey Goines to start the eighth, gave up seven runs on 12 hits, walked two and hit one. Goines allowed five runs on four hits in the last two frames.
After knocking out the Lincoln County Cardinals in four games in the first round, Post 100 has allowed 25 runs while scored only five in the quarterfinals.
Cherryville had four hits as a team on Monday and nine on Tuesday, but by the time it got going it was too late.
Some better pitching, defense and key hits at key times are what it needs to force a Game 4 back at Cherryville on Thursday.
“Things like that haven’t happened so far,” Reynolds said. “We’ll load up and go down there tomorrow and try to get that thing back home.”

GASTON BRAVES 12
CHERRYVILLE 2, 7 INN.
Mitch Painter homered twice and drove in eight runs, including a grand slam in the decisive sixth inning to give the Braves the series opener on Monday.
Post 100 scored both of its runs in the sixth to make it 5-2 on a sac fly by Chandler Jenkins and an RBI single by Brandon Alexander before Gaston broke it open. It was held to four hits by Alon Smith in a complete-game win.
Five Cherryville pitchers combined for 12 walks and hit four batters. Jenkins, the starter and loser, gave up four runs on seven walks and hit a batter in 2 1/3 innings.
Painter’s three-run homer in the second helped the Braves to a 4-0 lead.

Notes: Huff went 2-for-4 and had Post 100’s only multi-hit game on Tuesday. … Cody Dellinger doubled in the eighth and scored, and Jenkins also doubled in the eighth to give Post 100 three extra-base hits. … Huff drove in Post 100’s final run in the eighth.

Post 100 starter Dillon Harris delivers a pitch to a Gaston Braves batter during Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Tuesday.

Post 100 starter Dillon Harris delivers a pitch to a Gaston Braves batter during Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Tuesday.

Images courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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