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Host Wilson Christian Academy and Greenfield School fulfilled roles of two varsity baseball teams in search of a winning formula and in dire need of game experience on a cold Friday night on the Leonard Turnage Complex diamond.
The Chargers of the North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A ranks sent 17 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs in the first inning, then sputtered big-time before hanging on for a 19-13 conquest of Greenfield in a brutal exhibition that lingered three hours, 11 minutes.
The Chargers notched their first win after two losses, while Greenfield of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A ranks dropped to 1-3 — with the win coming by forfeit.
“There’s really not a lot I want to say,” commented WCA head coach Ty Bissett. “I just told the guys that, sometimes, games are that way.
“In games like this, you find out what you’re made of. It looked like it was going to be a quick evening and we could have easily given up emotionally after getting the big lead and seeing Greenfield keep coming back. (Senior right-hander) Preston Skinner stepped up the last two innings.
“But hats off to Greenfield. They’re a young team and I’ve been there. But they didn’t quit.
Remarked Greenfield head coach Daniel Johnson: “Ugly, miserable conditions and a tight strike zone.
“Good things happened as the game went on. I thought Patrick Smith did a great job in relief. We’ve just got to make the routine play.”
Wilson Christian benefited from nine Knights errors and tagged three Greenfield pitchers for 13 hits. Designated hitter Max Holland batted 4 for 5 with four RBIs, while Skinner doubled twice in five at-bats and drove in five runs.
“In my 14 years, I don’t think I’ve ever had a team make nine errors,” Johnson lamented.
Four WCA pitchers allowed 15 walks and also recorded 15 strikeouts. Skinner, a right-hander and the final WCA pitcher, got the win, working the last 2 2/3 innings and recording all eight outs via strikeouts.
Skinner slammed a pair of two-run doubles in the first — when the Chargers benefited from seven walks and two errors. Holland, first baseman Zack Denmark and center fielder Adrian Dehart also rappped hits in the opening inning.
The Chargers added four runs in the second and two each in the third and fourth innings. However, Greenfield tallied three in the second, four in the third, five in the fifth and one in the sixth before Skinner struck out the side in the seventh.
Freshman catcher Justin Holland swung a torrid bat for Greenfield, going 4 for 5. Losing pitcher Ty Weatherford managed a pair of hits. Keeping Greenfield in the game was a stout relief performance from Smith, a junior right-hander. Smith allowed three runs (two earned) and four hits the last four inning.
The Knights stranded 15 base runners and Wilson Christian 11. Greenfield pitchers issued 13 walks and posted seven strikeouts.
“We’re young (one senior), we’re learning and we’re growing,” Greenfield’s Johnson expressed. “It will pay off in the long run.”
Yep, Yogi was right: “It ain’t over until it’s over.”
Score by innings:
Greenfield 034 051 0 — 13
Wilson Christian (11)42 200 x — 19
WP-Preston Skinner2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO. LP-Ty Weatherford.
LEADING HITTERS — Greenfield: Justin Holland 4-5, 4 RBI; Ty Weatherford 2-5; Wilson Christian: Max Holland 4-5, 4 RBI, 3 R; Preston Skinner 2-5, 2 2B, 5 RBI; Gabe Barnes 2-6, Adrian Dehart 3-5, Zack Denmark 2-2.