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‘Cam slam’ lifts Knights past Rams, 9-5

Posted: March 23, 2017 11:25 a.m.
Updated: March 24, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

CAM HOLLEY’S GRAND SLAM was the difference in North Central’s 9-5 win over Chesterfield on Wednesday.

After striking out to lead off Wednesday’s game at Chesterfield, North Central’s Cam Holley told head coach Robbie Cash that he had trouble picking up the ball when it left the hand of CHS pitcher Kaleb Thomas. 

The junior also told his coach that he would make up for it the next time he went to the plate.

Holley made good on his promise as his second inning grand slam gave the guests a 4-2 lead and helped get the Knights get going in the right direction in what became a 9-5 conference road victory.

The win gave Cash and company a 3-1 record in Region 4-AA play heading into tonight’s game at Central.

While Holley’s blast took center stage on Wednesday, the key  to the Knights’ conference surge has been pitching and defense. In four league contests, NC pitchers are allowing less than two earned runs a gamne.

“We are playing good defense and our pitchers have done a great job of throwing strikes for us. We’re just playing well as a team,” said Cash, a former standout pitcher at Camden High and Wofford College.

“Coach (Brandon) Faulkenberry has done a great job with our pitching staff and is doing as good a job with our guys as I have seen done on the high school level.

“I‘ve been with Brandon for eight years, the last seven as a coach and one season with him as a player here. We are on the same page and it benefits our pitchers and our players.”

The Rams got to NC starter Chase Stephens for a pair in the home half of the first o grab an early 2-0 lead.

In the top of the second, Jeremiah Jenkins reached on a catcher’s interference. He went to second on a one-out Wesley Roberts single which came before Keaton Gardner loaded the bags for Holley with a walk.

Holley then sent what Cash called a “no-doubter,” well beyond the fence in left to give the guests the 4-2 lead.

“Cam delivered with his grand slam,” Cash said, “but the bottom of our order deserves a lot of credit, too. They were the guys who got on base and made things happen so that (Thomas) had to throw strikes to Cam.”

NC tacked on a pair in the third as Chance Mangum was hit by a pitch to lead things off. After Tyler Faulkenberry and Jenkins drew walks to load the bases, Kevin Smith lined a two-run single to left to make it 6-2.

The Rams answered with a pair in the home half of the third and trailed, 6-4, heading into the seventh.

“We challenged our guys to put the ball in play and give Tyler Faulkenberry (who came on in relief of Stephens in the sixth inning) some breathing room.”

The Knights responded by scoring three times with Holley lining a single, his third hit of the night, to kick-start things. A Stephens double followed.Holley scored on Mangum’s ground out. Faulkenberry then sent an RBI single to left before he scored the ninth run on a Jenkins hit and run double to right.

The Knights collected eight hits to back the 11-hit combined effort of Stephens and Faulkenberry. Holley was 3-for-4 with four RBI to lead the attack.

 

Truesdale pitches Knights past Jackets: NC opened its three-game week with a 5-1 win over Buford with Dalton Truesdale throwing a complete game in which the right-hander scattered seven hits while striking out three and walking two batters.

“It was the Dalton Truesdale show,” Cash said of the road victory. “It was a pitcher’s dream. Dalton did a great job of pounding the zone with his pitches and letting the players behind him do their job.

“We had 11 ground ball outs in the game. We came into the game with a lot of enthusiasm and, it showed.”

The Knights jumped on BHS starter Dylan Montgomery for two runs in the bottom of the first to take a quick 2-0 lead.

Stephens got things going with a one-out single to left. He would advance to third on Mangum’s two-base fielders’ choice. Faulkenberry delivered an RBI single to left to drive in Stephens. Faulkenberry would later score on a Smith fielders’ choice.

“We were able to get an early lead which allowed Dalton to sit back, relax and throw strikes,” Cash said.

After the Yellow Jackets got to Truesdale for a run in the top of the third, the Knights answered by scoring twice in their half of the inning which was ignited by a Mangum single to right. Faulkenberry followed with a single to center with a passed ball advancing the pair. Mangum would score on a dropped ball third strike with Faulkenberry making it a 4-1 game when he scored on Smith’s two-out double to center.

NC closed the scoring with a run in the fifth as Faulkenberry reached on a two-base fielders’ choice, stole third and came home on a Jenkins ground out.

The Knights out-hit Buford, 8-7, with Holley, Stephens and Faulkenberry all having two-hit nights. Smith had a pair of RBI in the win.

 

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