Early lead a winner for Pride in baseball

CorrespondentMay 21, 2011 

— Leesville Road's baseball team took an early lead against East Chapel Hill on Friday night.

For the Pride, it was a good thing.

East Chapel Hill relief pitcher Alex Moore didn't allow an earned run in five innings of work, but he came with the bases loaded and the Wildcats trailing 3-1.

The Pride (23-3) tacked on two more runs and won the third-round playoff game 5-2, advancing to the sectional final of the 4-A East bracket to play Holly Springs.

"In games like this it's great to come out and score a couple first because it takes the pressure off of your team," Leesville Road coach Chad Smothers said.

The Pride took it to the visitors early, getting a 1-2-3 top of the first while batting around in the bottom of the inning. Logan Bible got it started with an infield single that just a few pitches later saw him standing at third following a steal and throwing error.

Ryan Mulligan drove him and pinch-runner Graham McNeill with a two-run single that took a hop off the infield grass past first baseman Taylor West. Leesville Road tacked on another run when second baseman Henry Branson couldn't find a line drive in the sun.

After calming the Pride bats in the second inning, East Chapel Hill starter Aaron Bonertz loaded the bases with two walks and a single before head coach Phil Woodell pulled him for Moore.

Moore walked in a run with the first batter he faced while Bible added an RBI one batter later with a sacrifice fly before Moore recorded the final two outs of the inning.

Bonertz' counterpart Sean Ross had an easier go of it, allowing one run and three hits in the first three innings as the Pride pushed its lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the third.

"He threw strikes and gave the defense a chance to play and I couldn't be more proud of his effort," said Smothers of Ross, who pitched his first complete game of the season.

East Chapel Hill finished the season with a 16-11 record.

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