Wildcat Baseball 2011 - 3rd Round: My Site News: Wildcats happy with 2-1 split in tournament

Wednesday, April 6
Wildcats happy with 2-1 split in tournament

East goes 2-1 in revised Hilltop

BY W.E. WARNOCK, CHN Sports Editor
CHAPEL HILL - If April is the cruelest month, as T.S. Eliot wrote, then baseball in April can be downright hateful.

Playing for the third time in two days of the truncated Hilltop Invitational Tournament, East Chapel Hill out-hit West Forsyth and out-played the Titans for most of Saturday's wind-blown game, but ended up with a 3-1 loss.

"That's just baseball," East Chapel Hill coach Phil Woodell said.

Woodell was sanguine after the loss. His Wildcats were left at 7-6 overall after winning two out of three over the weekend.

The tournament was delayed one day by the lingering rain that drenched all four of the fields that were to host HIT games. Organizers were forced to either ask all the visitors to stay one more night than planned or, as they ended up choosing, to scrap the original three-day schedule and condense play into Friday and Saturday.

That transformed the HIT's original championship and playoff consolation brackets in two divisions into a round-robin affair

"They did a great job getting us three games after all that bad weather," West Forsyth coach Randy Pope said. "It was definitely still worth the trip."

Pope's Titans won easily in their first game, 13-3 Friday over Carrboro, and then had dinner and took in the UNC-Clemson baseball game before spending the night in a motel.

Saturday, West Forsyth blew open what was a close game for three innings and beat Union Pines 13-3.

West Forsyth, East Forsyth, Pinecrest and Jordan all went 3-0 over the weekend. Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill both went 2-1.

Friday at East Chapel Hill, the Wildcats produced five runs in the sixth inning to rally past Union Pines 9-3. Max Hoffman pitched six innings for the win.

In East Chapel Hill's first game Saturday, the Wildcats got four solid innings of work on the mound from junior Aaron Bonnertz and tagged Carrboro with eight runs in the first inning in an 11-1 win.

"It's not any one game that matters so much," Woodell said. "The kids work hard and play hard and give a lot of effort. They're great guys, and I just like this ball club."

One of the things Woodell likes is that "we have a lot of guys that can throw the ball and hit the ball," and he likes inserting them into different situations.

In East's second game Saturday, Woodell started right-hander Phillip Morales on the mound. Morales, possessing an effective fastball, retired the first nine Titans he faced and 12 of the first 13.

East's Tyler Klimko singled in the second and came home on Rickie Clark's RBI shot into right field for a 1-0 lead.

With West Forsyth still hitless, Morales survived a walk, a wild pitch and a balk to get out of the fourth inning. That was already two more innings than Woodell had expected from East's closer.

"Originally, it was just going to be him out there for two innings only," Woodell said. "But he threw so well, we kept him out there."

Reliever Tito Ramos hit the Titan leadoff man in the fifth and, two sacrifices later, West Forsyth tied it at 1-1, still without a hit.

In the top of the sixth, with high winds whipping up dust across the field, West Forsyth took advantage of reliever Parker Tew for another walk, an error and a sacrifice fly by Chad Felton for a 3-1 lead.

West Forsyth got its lone hit in the seventh, a single by Ian Walsh that went begging for a follow-up hit.

In the bottom of the sixth, with Alex Moore and Ricky Clark already on base, Tew cracked a hard shot into center that curled into Felton's glove.

"A few feet either way and that would have been a tie ball game," Woodell said.

"In first game we had some guys just hit little 'duck snorts,' just inside the line. They were able to get base hits out of them. They just hit it in the right spot. But this is baseball, and it all evens out in the end."