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Wildcat baseball opens in Lawrenceville

POSTED: February 22, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Wildcat sophomore Trace Clamp waits on first base during the big third inning of Apalachee’s 13-1 win over Central Gwinnett.

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The Apalachee Wildcats opened their baseball season with a statement 13-1 win over the Central Gwinnett Black Knights.

Friday’s game was supposed to be the second game of the season for Apalachee and their second game against Central Gwinnett, but a structural issue at Apalachee’s home field forced the cancellation of a game scheduled for Wednesday evening. The outfield fence blew over.

The story of the game for Apalachee was two big innings of offense and five innings of stellar defense as a pair of Wildcat pitchers only allowed two hits for the Black Knights.

Apalachee’s Tyler Adams started the game off by taking a walk from one of Central’s five pitchers for the game. Adams was then advanced into scoring position by a balk and scored by a double from Aaron Carley.

Seven Wildcats saw the plate in the second inning and scored three runs. Designated hitter Joey White opened the inning on a single and followed that up with a stolen base before scoring the first of Apalachee’s runs in the second inning. Hayden Hubler followed White and hit safely on base with a single.

Adams, who earned two RBIs for Hubler and White, earned his second run of the night after he stole home on a wild pitch.

Apalachee’s Austin Leazer reached first on a two-out walk, but he stole second and third on wild pitches. Leazer would not reach home on the inning, though, as Corley came behind him and ground out into the pitcher to end the second inning.

Central knew they were quickly lagging and had already suffered one major defeat at the hands of Whitefield Academy earlier this week, and hoped to avoid a similar defeat at their home opener.

Unfortunately for the Knights, it was not in the cards.

Black Knight Kishan Raja hit a 3-2 single to right field and was quickly replaced by a pinch runner who stole second base when Alkhatib came up to bat.

After Alkhatib took a walk from Wildcat pitcher Tyler Starnes, giving the Knights two men on and no outs, Central’s Krystopa struck out on a 1-2 pitch.

Raja’s pinch runner then seized an opportunity to steal third and put his team’s first run just a few feet from scoring, but he was thrown out by a combination of Leazer and Adams at third base.

Central’s Moore struck out on the next at bat and ended the early scoring threat.

Chance Rodriguez came up to bat for Apalachee after Starnes opened the inning with a ground-out to first, taking a four pitch walk to first base.

Central’s pitcher advanced Rodriguez with yet another balk before Rodriguez was able to take third on a pitcher error and then home on a wild pitch, scoring the fifth Apalachee run of the game.

Central, who found no offense in the bottom of the third with two Ks a walk and a routine out at first base, managed to hold Apalachee without scoring in the top of the fourth. The Wildcats threatened as Hubler was thrown out trying to go home, but no further damage was done.

Similarly, Central had nothing going their way in the bottom half of the fourth, as the Wildcats caught two fly balls on excellent defensive plays and Kody Glausier struck one out pitching in relief.

The top of the fifth inning would prove to be the beginning of the end, though, as Apalachee sent 12 batters to the plate before Central recorded a single out. By then, the Wildcats had already gathered 8 more runs, including two runs earned by Wildcats walking with bases loaded.

Corley, Hubler and Glausier all recorded hits in the fifth inning, with Corley recording two singles. Starnes, White, Leazer and Adams all walked, while Ryan Janco gained first base on a hit-by-pitch and Chance Rodriguez made first base after an attempted sacrifice bunt.

Rodriguez wound up safe at first after a wild throw missed the first baseman, but he injured his foot in the process. Rodriguez would stay in the game and eventually limped home on the Glausier double.

Ryan Cavey and Jacob Campbell, both freshmen, fell victim to a generous umpire giving Central’s woeful pitchers a wide strike zone and fell on strikes before Glausier would hit out for the final out of the inning.

Central’s Moore led off the bottom of the fifth in a desperate situation, knowing his team would lose by mercy rule without some serious runs, and started things off with a single right up the middle. He would then steal both second and third on two separate wild pitches from Glausier.

Black Knight Heredia drove Moore in on a sacrifice RBI towards first base giving the Knights their first run of the game and first out of the inning.

Glausier would breeze the next two Knights for an easy rest of the inning, although one of the two nearly reached first on a dropped third strike, but he was thrown out for the second out of the inning.

Apalachee takes their talents on the road to Class AAAAAA Archer High School tomorrow evening with first pitch at 5:45pm before visiting nearby Class AAAAAA Dacula High School on Thursday. The Cats will face two more road games before Dacula returns the favor and plays at Apalachee on Friday, March 7 for the Wildcats’ next home game.



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