Cougars edge Trojans, 6-4
The High Point Christian Academy baseball team didn’t let Wesleyan Christian Academy keep its momentum for very long.
After the third-ranked Trojans rallied with three runs in the top of the sixth to tie it, the second-ranked Cougars answered with two in the bottom half to regain control and held on for a 6-4 win Tuesday at Oak View Baptist Church in the opening game of their three-game series.
“I’m proud of our guys for that,” HPCA coach Corey Gesell said. “That’s the game of baseball. One minute you can be up. The next minute you can be tied or down. You’ve got to focus on the next pitch, the next at-bat. They just came up and did great.”
With runners on second and third and nobody out, Boston New, who went 4 for 4 with a home run, two doubles and four RBIs, roped a double through the left side to score Tanner Harris and Levi Gesell to give HPCA (15-3, 4-0 PACIS 3A) the lead for good.
“We knew they’d put runs on the board,” said New, a senior transfer playing in his first game of the crosstown rivalry. “We just kept our heads straight and decided that if we were going to win this game, then we’d have to score runs. So, that’s what we did.”
Stephen Hemrick (3-0) pitched six strong innings, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out eight. Ben White then came in for the seventh, allowing two runners to reach before getting the final batter to line out to right to seal his first save of the season.
Ryan Clinch (1-1) took the loss for WCA (12-5, 5-1), which was led offensively by Weston Wilson and Johnny Rollins with two hits apiece. Clinch allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk in five innings relief of Rollins, who pitched one inning in his start.
“I didn’t think we played overly-bad — just a lot of credit goes to their kid on the mound,” WCA coach Scott Davis said. “He threw a great ballgame for them, kept us off-balance all game, and we couldn’t get in a good rhythm. We had some poor at-bats to help them, but he threw well.
“And they put up a couple early and put us on our heels. Johnny didn’t have it tonight, and we had to go to the bullpen early. We were fighting back all night. We tied it up in the sixth there, but, of course, they got the base hit there to go ahead and we just couldn’t hold them.”
Levi Gesell was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI while Hemrick also had an RBI, as the Cougars led 2-0 on New’s first-inning home run, then tacked on a sacrifice fly in the second and squeeze bunt in the third to lead 4-0.
The Trojans were held without a hit for three innings before Rollins finally doubled home Wilson in the fourth. They then loaded the bases with one out in the sixth and scored one on a hit-by-pitch and two off a fielding error and throwing error on the same play to tie it 4-4.
The teams play again Thursday and Saturday, with both games starting at 6 p.m. at Ed Price Field.