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Knights hang tough in holding off Griffins, 3-2

Posted: March 23, 2013 11:21 a.m.
Updated: March 25, 2013 5:00 a.m.

There is nothing like hot pitching to warm up a cold night.
North Central’s Grayson King and Fairfield Central’s Compton Walker hooked up in a pitcher’s duel with King and company leaving Winnsboro with a 3-2 win in a Region 3-AA baseball game played on Friday night.
The victory gave the Knights a 3-1 conference mark and a 9-3-1 overall ledger.
The two right-handers allowed a combined five hits with King giving up a pair of singles while fanning 11 Griffins in a game which took some 80 minutes to complete.
King, a Francis Marion signee, got stronger as the night went along. He struck out six batters in the final three frames --- fanning the side in the seventh to preserve the win --- while throwing just 81 pitches.
“One of the keys for Grayson was that he was able to establish his curveball early,” said NC head coach Robbie Cash. “By Grayson’s doing that, it set up his fastball and his cutter which he threw later in the game. Those pitches worked real well for him.
“Grayson was still fresh at the end of the game. He could have gone eight or nine innings, if we needed him to.”
The Knights nearly did need extra frames in a game in which the hosts scored a pair of unearned runs in the third, on a one-out error followed by a walk and a two-run single, to take a 2-0 lead, which held up until the fifth.
Walker did not give up a hit through the first four frames. In the fifth, NC got to him for two runs in an inning which opened with Ryan Baker reaching base on an error. After Warren Moseley walked, Cam Holley, a seventh-grader, bunted the pair into scoring position. Baker scored on a J.P. Faulkenberry single while Moseley tied the game as he came home on a wild pitch.
NC scored the game-winning run in the seventh as Josh Ross reached on a one-out error. He went to third on another sacrifice bunt by Holley. Ross made it 3-2 when he scored on a wild pitch with two outs.
“We got on base with errors, moved guys around with bunts and scored two runs on wild pitches,” Cash said. “We’ll take runs any way we can get them.”
Another key for the Knights in this game was to keep Griffins off the base paths. Already, Fairfield Central has swiped 50 bases as a team.
Holley was making his first start at second base on Friday and was taking his first swings at the plate in his young career. Cash said Holley’s his insertion into the lineup paid off quickly.
“Cam made four or five pretty good plays at second base,” Cash said. “But he got those two sacrifice bunts down when it mattered. He’s really going to help us as the season goes along.”
The victory gave the Knights their second win in a week which started with a shutout loss to Lewisville on Monday, an 18-4 win over Columbia one night later before a 3-2 seat-squirmer on Friday. Cash said he was glad to come out with a pair of wins after that week.
“I knew (FC head coach) Scottie Dean had a good ballclub and they hard a  guy who threw strikes with an 83 to 84-mile an hour fastball to go along with a very good curveball,” said Cash of the Griffins and Walker.
“We saw a lot of different pitching (last) week. We saw a tough lefty on Monday before facing some slower-throwers on Tuesday night and then, having Walker on Friday. It was a tough week for North Central.”
This week will be an important one for the Knights. After traveling to meet Keenan in Columbia on Tuesday, Cash and company return to Boonetown on Thursday to host Pelion in a 6 p.m. start. The Panthers won the first meeting between the two region foes, 7-5.

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