SILER CITY — Taking advantage of 13 walks and five extra-base hits, Chatham Central broke open a close game by plating four runs in the top of the fourth before exploding for nine runs in the fifth …
Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
SILER CITY — Taking advantage of 13 walks and five extra-base hits, Chatham Central broke open a close game by plating four runs in the top of the fourth before exploding for nine runs in the fifth to turn the contest into a rout as the Bears frolicked to a 15-2 five-inning run-ruled 1A Central Tar Heel Conference triumph over Chatham Charter Monday evening on the losers’ field to wrap up the CTH regular-season title for the second straight year.
Spoiling the Knights’ Senior Night while defeating its host for the third time in six days, Chatham Central swept the season series to climb to 9-0 in the league standings and 12-7 overall, whereas Chatham Charter fell to 7-4 in the conference and 8-6 for the year.
Bears’ starting pitcher Carson Brewer hurled three innings to get credit for the win, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out one.
Riley Lagenor tossed the final two innings in relief and gave up a pair of hits and one earned run besides fanning two.
“Our guys were focused and knew what was at stake tonight (winning the conference title), and they really wanted to get a three-game sweep against their county rival,” said Chatham Central coach Brett Walden. Carson and Riley both threw well this evening, and even though we had good approaches at the plate and were aggressive with the bat, it was a tight game until we finally busted it open in the fourth.”
Carter Phillips opened on the hill for the Knights and took the loss after yielding three hits and a pair of earned runs while issuing one free pass in two-plus innings of work.
Chatham Charter relievers Trevor Golden, Cameron Kennedy, Tanner Kidd and Jaron Hendrickson combined to pitch the last three innings and collectively surrendered seven hits and 13 runs (12 earned) in addition to walking a dozen batters and whiffing three.
“With our two top pitchers unavailable, I knew we would use four or five guys on the mound tonight,” said Knights’ coach Bill Slaughter.
“Not only did Chatham Central’s pitchers do a good job silencing our bats this evening,” said Slaughter, “but with all the walks we gave up we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Bears seized a 1-0 advantage in the top of the second as leadoff batter Caleb Staley tripled to the right field fence and scored when Carter Fuquay lashed a base hit down the left field line.
Chatham Central increased its lead to 2-0 in the visitors’ third as Lofton Dodson rapped a leadoff single to center prior to the Bears loading the bases on free passes issued to Michael Moore and Staley before Fuquay coaxed a walk to force in Dodson.
Chatham Charter responded with a solo run in its half of the frame to close the gap to 2-1 as Golden led off with an opposite-field base hit to right and came in to score two outs later when Jacob Brannon stroked a double into the left field corner.
But Chatham Central then sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the fourth and tallied four runs to stretch its advantage to 6-1.
Drew Cox drew a full-count leadoff walk and stole second prior to advancing to third when Hunter Strickland bunted his way on base.
Following Dodson’s bloop single to left that scored Cox, Moore walked on four pitches to fill the sacks.
After Strickland came in to score when Tyson Measamer hit into a double play, Staley belted an opposite-field double to left to drive in Dodson.
A walk and a hit batter then reloaded the bases prior to Lagenor receiving a full-count free pass to force in Staley.
The winners paraded 14 batters to the plate in the visitors’ fifth and proceeded to extend their lead to 15-1 as Dodson reached on a one-out infield error before walks to Moore and Measamer filled the bases.
Staley’s two-run single to right drove in Dodson and Moore, and following a walk to Fuquay that once again filled the sacks, back-to-back free passes issued to Collin Lagenor and Riley Lagenor brought in Measamer and Staley.
Cox then smashed a bases-clearing double into the left field corner prior to Strickland drawing a full-count walk. Dodson followed with a double off the left field fence to drive in Cox before Moore’s double down the left field line plated Strickland.
The Knights managed to tally the night’s final run their last turn at bat as Kidd slammed a one-out triple up the alley in right-center and came home on a two-out wild pitch.