Nichirin hangs on for first win
For the first two weeks of the 2011 Babe Ruth League season, first year Nichirin manager Bradley Maddox must have been wondering what his ballclub had to do to notch their first win of the year.
On Monday night at the Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Field, Bradley may have wondered again as his squad led for six and half innings before the Farm Center of Chapel Hill came back to tie, but this time, Bradley's troops counter surged in extra innings, holding on to win 7-5.
Nichirin came out inspired, scoring twice in the top of the first inning as Blake Darnell singled in the leadoff spot and Hunter Talley followed with a walk.
Darnell and Talley moved up on stolen bases to second and third before Cameron Isley plated both runners with a single down the right field line.
Nichirin starter Stuart Warner got out of a two on, two out jam in the home half of the inning and then watched as his teammates put up another run in the top of the second on an RBI groundout by Tay Tay Davis that knocked in Madison Peete.
Ryan Yelensky came to the hill in relief of Farm Center starter Landon Jones in the third and he escaped a two out scoring threat by Nichirin.
Yelensky led off the home half of the inning with a single to left field and an infield error on the factory guys with Jones at the plate opened up a small Nichirin leak.
Tanner Garvin knocked in Yelensky with a sacrifice fly and Jones came across one batter later on another Nichirin boo-boo.
Warner plugged the leak when he wheeled and picked off the Farm Center runner at second base to end the inning.
Peete led off the fourth with a base hit and two walks by Josh McKnight and Darnell, combined with two strikeouts from Yelensky loaded the sacks with two outs.
Yelensky uncorked a wild pitch with Isley at the plate, sending home Peete on a close play at the dish to make it 4-2.
Chapel Hill did not score in the bottom of the inning and Garvin held Nichirin in the fifth.
There was also no scoring by either club in the sixth inning.
Isley and David Looney cracked back-to back hits to start the seventh and one batter later, Isley scored on a sacrifice fly by Gunner Southerland to make it a 5-3 ballgame, going into the bottom of the seventh.
Blake Leonard worked a leadoff walk and Yelensky followed with a double into the left/center gap to make it second and third with no outs.
In an instant, the game was tied when Jones hit a slow ground ball that was thrown away by Nichirin, allowing both runners to come home.
Looney set down the next three Farm Center batters in order to escape any further damage.
Maddox's team did not hang their heads; instead, they rallied, beginning with a leadoff base on balls issued to Davis.
Darnell followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs.
A sacrifice fly by Talley put Nichirin ahead and Darnell scampered home with an insurance run on a passed ball before the inning ended.
Looney retired three in a row, including two strikeouts in the bottom of the inning to seize the season's first win for Nichirin.
Isley had three hits, two walks, two RBIs, and two runs scored and Darnell managed two base hits, stole two bases, walked once, and scored twice to lead the Nichirin offense.
Looney picked up the win in relief, giving up no earned runs on two hits, while striking out six and walking one.
Yelensky had three hits and scored three runs for Chapel Hill.