Central routs Ragsdale in a battle for second
In a game that would decide who would take second place in the Piedmont Triad 4A conference, the High Point Central baseball team came to play with a chip on its shoulder against rival Ragsdale on Friday.
Coming off last week’s back-to-back losses to Southwest Guilford and Southern Guilford, the Bison were in much need of a rebounding game, in addition to needing a win to secure second place in the conference.
The Bison exploded for 12 runs on 12 hits, including six runs in the fifth inning, to cruise past Ragsdale 12-2 in five innings. Ragsdale coming off a 10-0 win Tuesday over Glenn which allowed it to challenge for second, managed only four hits and struggled to make plays against the hot Central bats.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Central coach Ken Morgan said, acknowledging his players were playing with a little extra swagger. “We really needed this game to turn the corner from a tough week last week, losing two games.”
Colin Fowler capped the win with two outs in the fifth inning. Fowler stepped up to the plate with runners on second and third and delivered a single to right-center field that scored two, ending the game on the 10-run mercy rule and giving the Bison (16-7, 8-4 PTC) the season sweep over Ragsdale.
Senior shortstop Will Johnson went 2 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs and a run scored as well.
“We came to play tonight,” Johnson said. “Second place was definitely in the back of our minds – it was one of our goals. We just lost two in a row, so we were ready. We knew what we needed to do to win this game. In practice, we’ve been focusing in on hitting and just playing hard.”
After Ragsdale (12-10, 7-5) manufactured a run in the top of the first inning, Central starting pitcher Trevor Gay settled in and took care of the Ragsdale hitters. Gay went three innings, giving up only two hits, two runs, two walks while striking out five. Josh Wilson came in for the final two innings in relief.
“I just tell my guys to give us a chance to win and find a way to compete,” Morgan said. “I’m just happy we came out and played hard tonight.”
Ragsdale starting pitcher Tim Ambrose was knocked from the game in the third inning after giving up five runs. Ambrose, a left-handed pitcher that the Bison saw in their 6-1 victory last month, struggled to make outs when the Tigers needed them.
“It was kind of a weird game tonight,” Ragsdale coach Donnie Maness said. “Things weren’t going our way. A lot of weird bounces, you know, just one of those games.”
There was a scary moment in the fifth inning when Ragsdale shortstop Cesar Trejo took a weird bouncing ground ball to the nose, and left the game. With the conference tournament beginning next week and Ragsdale expected to play Glenn in the first round, Maness is hopeful of his return.
Central has one regular-season game remaining next week against Parkland.
“Focus on practice and the game against Parkland first, and then we’ll worry about the conference and state tournaments,” Johnson said.