Warriors bolstered by Mustangs’ miscues
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
March 20, 2014 04:06 AM | 2062 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Cobb second baseman Shane Wiltsey fields a grounder hit his way during Wednesday’s game at Kennesaw Mountain.
<Br>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
North Cobb second baseman Shane Wiltsey fields a grounder hit his way during Wednesday’s game at Kennesaw Mountain.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
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KENNESAW — North Cobb scored five runs in the top of the fifth inning, and starting pitcher Trevor Devine went the distance as the Warriors handed Kennesaw Mountain a 5-2 loss Thursday.

North Cobb (6-4, 1-2 Region 4AAAAAA) sent eight batters to the plate in the fifth, scoring five runs off five errors and two hits.

Devine, who allowed two earned runs off seven hits, struck out four and walked three. He gave up only two hits through five innings before Kennesaw Mountain (9-4, 2-1) started to rally.

The Mustangs’ Zach Teem hit a two-out single through the middle in the bottom of the sixth, scoring courtesy runner Colin LoCurto for Kennesaw Mountain’s first run.

Pinch-hitter Patrick Martin doubled to lead off the bottom of the seventh and reached third on Matt Cole’s single before scoring on Michael Atkinson’s groundout.

Devine left the bases loaded in the sixth and stranded runners on second and third in the seventh.

“Kennesaw Mountain kept fighting, and that’s what you expect from them,” North Cobb coach Tom Callahan said, “but there’s nobody else I’d like to have out there. When (Devine) competes, I know he’s going to battle, and he did that in the end.”

The game moved quickly through the first four innings with a pitchers’ duel developing between Devine and Kennesaw Mountain’s Chase Slone. Slone gave up two hits through three innings before being relieved in the fourth due to stiffness in his back.

Slone’s replacement, Zack Chandler, was just as effective, but he didn’t get the necessary defensive support in the fifth.

Dustin Morrow singled to lead off the inning for North Cobb, while Ryan Schmitz, Devine and Nolan Greckel all reached on errors. Morrow scored on Devine’s at-bat, and Schmitz came home on Elijah Sepnieski’s single, giving North Cobb a 2-0 advantage.

Two errors on Tyler Martin’s at-bat allowed Greckel and pinch-runner Shane Wiltsey to score, moving Martin to third base. Finally, a passed ball allowed Martin to score, putting the Warriors ahead 5-0.

Chandler pitched two strong innings, but he was credited with five unearned runs on two hits with three strikeouts.

“We bunched a bunch of errors in the same spot of the game, and that’s not characteristic of our team,” Kennesaw Mountain coach George Hansen said. “We scratch and claw and fight and play great defense and get good pitching to get wins.

“If any of that formula doesn’t work, like it did (Wednesday), then it will be a tough night for us. That’s what happened. We lacked the focus on defense and we paid the price.”

Morrow went 2-for-3 to pace the Warriors at the plate.

Hampton Clark came on in the sixth and gave up two hits, but didn’t allow a run for Kennesaw Mountain.

Reggie Pruitt was 2-for-3. Alex Darwiche was 1-for-1 with two walks, and Martin doubled in his lone at-bat and scored a run.

“It’s never over against Kennesaw Mountain,” said Callahan, who will host the Mustangs today to complete the home-and-home series, “so you have to be able to take advantage when you get opportunities like we did, and we were able to hold them off.

“We stress putting the ball in play and not striking out. We want to play team baseball and force our opponents to make plays. Strikeouts don’t pay off. You have to put the ball in play.”

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