Wildcat Baseball 2011 - 3rd Round: My Site News: Jordan, Riverside pull away from East

Sunday, April 17
Jordan, Riverside pull away from East
DURHAM - East Chapel Hill's hopes to overtake the leaders in the PAC-6 baseball race took a blow Thursday when the Wildcats lost 15-5 at surging Durham Riverside.

The Pirates' win kept them close to Durham Jordan in their chase of Person (12-3, 7-1 PAC) in the short high school season. Both Riverside and Jordan have two losses in league play.

"We started the season slow, with a tough non-conference schedule, but we're slowly getting to where we need to be," Riverside coach Doug Blowe said after his Pirates' third straight win in Piedmont Athletic Conference games.

Jordan (15-2, 6-2 PAC) got a half-game up on Riverside (6-7, 5-2) with the Falcons' 9-2 win over Northern Durham.

Thursday's decision at Riverside, coupled with a 4-1 loss Tuesday against Jordan, dropped East Chapel Hill to 9-8 overall, 4-4 in PAC games.

"This a was a huge, huge win for us," Jordan coach Devy Bell said Tuesday after the win at East, as his players hurried through a chilly drizzle to the team bus.

Jordan had a chance to tie Person for the conference lead on April 8, when East Chapel Hill downed Roxboro's Rockets 7-2 in an afternoon game. But the Falcons lost 3-1 at Riverside later that night.

East, alone in fourth in a league that will get five playoff berths, remains the only PAC team to have beaten Person.

Notably, East also is one of the few teams to beat Union Pines (13-4), which set an NCHSAA single game record last week with 11 home runs in a 16-9 win over East Montgomery. The 'Cats topped UP 9-3 in the Hilltop Invitational.

And they started off great at Riverside, where Alex Moore blasted a grand slam to key a five-run first inning. Phillip Morales got the Wildcats' only other RBI hit Thursday.

After that, Riverside starter Dusty Tatum struck out seven and gave up just three more hits over the next four innings. Meanwhile, the Pirates became the first team to get to previously undefeated East Chapel Hill starter Max Hoffman, tagging him with nine hits and two earned runs during his 2.2 innings of work.

The Pirates exploded for 11 runs in the third to take a 12-5 lead and never let East Chapel Hill back into the game after that. In all, they banged out 17 hits against the 'Cats.

"I really don't think that's what Abner Doubleday had in mind when he invented baseball," East coach Phil Woodell said. "We set the game back 75 years."

Tuesday, beginning the second half of the conference season at East Chapel Hill, Jordan went with undefeated senior right-hander Kerry Long (6-0) on the mound. Long had slightly more trouble with the Wildcats than he did when he blanked them 5-0 March 15 in Durham, but he still walked just two and notched a strikeout in each of the first six innings to help break up any Wildcat rallies. He scattered five hits over five innings.

Joey Mangili, a junior quarterback who pitched his first varsity game ever in a 10-3 Jordan win over Wakefield, worked the last two innings Tuesday for a save.

Long got into trouble just once, after Jordan had jumped ahead 3-0 with four hits in the top of the fourth, by opening the bottom of the inning with six straight balls and giving up a single to Tito Ramos to put men at first and third. After a mound conference with Bell, Long struck out the next batter on three pitches and retired the next two in order.

"He's had some issues with getting his breaking ball over the plate," Bell noted. "He kept his poise really well in the fourth, especially with runners on base, and worked his way out of it."

Jordan picked up an insurance run in the seventh with a two-out single by Markus Koeneke and an RBI double into center field by catcher Jack Slavin.

Koeneke, who began Jordan's big fourth inning with a single into left field, went 2-for-4 for the day. Elliott Bentley was 2-3, with an RBI that capped the fourth inning.

Seven different Wildcats got one hit.

"We had four opportunities where we didn't get a hit with men in scoring positions in four different innings," Woodell said. "This loss falls little more on our offense than our defense."

© Copyright 2011, The News & Observer Publishing Company, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Company