Bison’s playoff run ends at West Forsyth

May. 16, 2013 @ 10:34 PM

The High Point Central baseball team couldn’t quite keep its good thing going.

Playing in the third round for the first time since 1971, the Bison took an early lead but, with the score tied late, allowed two runs in the bottom of the sixth in falling 3-1 at West Forsyth on Thursday in the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.

“We didn’t play well enough to deserve to win,” HPC coach Ken Morgan said. “We out-hit them, but three errors, extended pitch counts. ... But, tip your hat, they grinded their at-bats and we didn’t grind ours as well. Our kids fought all year, but we just do things smart enough to win tonight.”

The Titans (23-6), the Central Piedmont champion, singled to lead off the sixth, then laced a one-out single to right. With the hit-and-run on, the runner at first raced to third as the throw from right sailed high over third and into the dead-ball area, allowing the run to score.

West Forsyth, with a runner at third, then laid down a squeeze bunt to score another run and led 3-1 into the bottom half. The Bison (19-9), the No. 3 seed from the Piedmont Triad, did put the tying run on first with two outs but struck out on a check swing to end the game.

Still, as disappointing as the ending was, HPC still reached a point no team in program history had been in over 40 years. And now it looks to make such runs a much more regular occurrence.

“It means a whole lot to us,” Morgan said. “Our expectations are very high. They really are. Our guys won’t be satisfied with a third-round loss. I’m certainly not satisfied with it. Hopefully it’ll fuel the fire for next year when we’re a year more mature, smarter, better and this will be more expected.”

Trevor Gay did pitch well in the loss, striking out 11 in 5 1/3 innings. The Titans, however, drew four walks and extended counts, which eventually worked in their favor. Travis Holden got the win, limiting the Bison to six hits (just two after the first inning).

HPC took the lead in the first in the first inning when Hansen Butler beat out an infield chopper to short, allowing Zach McLean to score. After that, though, their opportunities were few, as West Forsyth tied it in the second on a sacrifice fly.