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Holley fires no-hitter in 6-2 Knights’ win

Posted: March 2, 2017 3:20 p.m.
Updated: March 3, 2017 1:00 a.m.

trong pitching performances were the norm in pool play at the Mid-Carolina Credit Union Baseball Bash at North Central High School.

The four-day event was scheduled to conclude on Thursday with the tournament host Knights facing Robert E. Lee Academy for the championship of the preseason event.

North Central opened on Monday with Camden Military Academy with the Knights getting a walk-off single from Dalton Truesdale with one gone in the bottom of the sixth to come away with the 2-1 win.

For the majority of the game, this was a pitcher’s duel between CMS sophomore Woodson Alexander and NC ace Chase Stephens. The two righthanders put on a show with Alexander going the distance while allowing an earned run on four hits while fanning 11.

Stephens, a senior, went the first four frames for Robbie Cash’s squad and allowed an unearned run while giving up two hits with six strikeouts. Tyler Faulkenberry came on in the fifth and worked two innings of one-hit, three-strikeout ball to get the win.

CMA grabbed the 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Mason Van Loan was hit by a pitch to lead things off. He went to second on a Kevin Phillips single, stole third and scored on a passed ball.

The Knights evened things in the bottom half of the inning with Kevin Smith lining a leadoff double to left and scoring on a two-out passed ball.

That would be the only scoring until the home half of the sixth which opened with a Smith walk and stolen base before scoring from second on Faulkenberry’s single.

Stephens led the Knights with a triple and a single in three at-bats while Smith and Truesdale added a single each.

Cash later tipped his cap to CMA head coach and Camden native Griff Beckham as well as Alexander. The NC boss said it was tough facing the caliber of a pitcher like Alexander to start off the season.

“Coach Beckham always has his guys ready to play when they face us,” Cash said. “(Alexander) is a major Division I prospect. He throws in the high 80s with a nasty curveball and ver good changeup. It’s tough when you see somebody like that, right off the bat, on February 27.

“It would be worth people’s while, especially baseball purists who want to see a Division I baseball prospect, to drive up Highway 1 and check out Griff and his team this year.”

In the second half of Monday’s doubleheader, NC took on Lee Central, which jumped to a quick 2-0 lead without the benefit of a hit against Knights’ righty Cam Holley.

“We had a couple first inning errors and we made some defensive changes after that,” Cash said. “We moved some guys around which really helped us.”

NC cut the lead in half with a run in the second as Keaton Gardner sent a leadoff single to right, stole second and scored on a balk. The hosts tacked on five runs in the fourth inning, using three hits. A Gardner leadoff single --- his second hit of the evening for the Knights who collected six --- and his stealing second was followed by Jeremiah Jenkins’ sacrifice bunt. A Truesdale single to left evened things at 2-2.

Austin Bowers kept the inning going with a walk  with Holley also getting on with a free pass to set up a two-run double from Faulkenberry. Holley made it 5-2, scoring on a passed ball, before Faulkeneberry scored the sixth run on a passed ball.

“In the second game, we faced a kid who was throwing in the lows 50 after having seen upper 80s in the first game,” Cash said. “I thought our kids made good adjustments at the plate.” Holley worked the complete five innings in a game played under time restrictions. He fanned seven and walked a pair in the no-hitter which came as a surprise to Cash.

“I didn’t realize that Cam threw a no-hitter until I came to school on Tuesday and saw it in our book. Cam threw the ball well and was throwing strikes. We also got to play all 15 of our kids on Monday which was good.”

On Tuesday, Robert E. Lee Academy took down the Knights, 11-1, with the guests scoring three times in the first and adding three more in the third before closing the game in six inning with a four-run top of the sixth.

NC scored a run in the first with Holley hitting a leadoff single to center and scoring on Chance Mangum’s one-out single to left. The Barons kept it from being a big inning by getting a strikeout and a ground out as NC left the bases jammed.

Mangum had two of NC’s six hits on the night.

North Central will kick off the regular season and Region 4-AA play next Tuesday when rival Andrew Jackson comes to Boonetown for a 6:30 p.m. game.


Baseball and BBQ: The North Central baseball programs will hold a barbecue lunch on Saturday, March 11 at the baseball field as part of that day’s junior varsity and varsity doubleheader against visiting Lewisville. 

The jayvee game will begin at 11 a.m. with the varsity contest slated for a 1 p.m. start.

Barbecue plates are now on sale for $6.25 which includes barbecue chicken, rice, green beans, cake and lemonade. The food service will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets for the meal can be purchased from any NCHS baseball player, coach or at the school’s athletic department office located inside the school gym.



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