KNIGHTDALE — The 8th annual Knightdale Roundtable Classic is a round-robin format, but on Monday night it just so happened there was a true “championship game” between Green Hope and Knightdale.
The Falcons handed the host Knights a 2-1 loss in the final game of the four-team tournament, putting Green Hope 3-0 against the field. Knightdale ended 2-1, while Hillside was 0-3 and Eden Morehead was 1-2.
It’s the second year in a row where Green Hope has won the KRC.
“It’s kind of nice to get away and play new teams. It’s nice to play three games in a row so you get to see your pitching,” said Green Hope coach Mike Miragliuolo.
Knightdale provided the only close game of the tournament for the Falcons, which never trailed in the KRC. Green Hope, which had defeated Hillside 23-1 and Morehead 10-0, scored the winning run against Knightdale in the bottom of the sixth on a Jonathan Newbold sacrifice fly that plated Eric Gilbert.
Miragliuolo said the close game “was exactly what we needed.”
Green Hope junior catcher Thomas Yoder was the MVP of the tournament.
“He’s been lights-out for us,” Miragliuolo said. “And he keeps our pitching staff in control too. Our pitching staff has been amazing with a 1.6 ERA this year,”
Yoder is near the tops in most of the Triangle area’s offensive categories.
“All the hard work is starting to pay off,” Yoder said. “I changed my swing up a little bit. I tried to get a little bigger up there and use my whole body more.”
It was the third one-run loss of the year for Knightdale, and second in a week – with the other coming against N&O No. 1 Garner in extra innings.
But Knightdale coach Andrew Vaglio said his team should be picking up confidence.
“It’s unfortunate that the two runs they scored were unearned,” Vaglio said. “A lot of confidence is what we should’ve gotten. (Green Hope) has beaten Holly Springs, which was your state champion (in 2011). It lets us know and reassures that they’re as good as I’ve been telling them and our coaches have been telling them.”
Senior second baseman Adonis Williams is starting to believe.
“We’re real close (to breaking through),” Williams said. “You can with each game that we’re improving. We’re about to be a team on the lookout. We’re the underdogs.”
Senior first baseman Chris Hellriegel knows the difference, at times, has been just one clutch hit.
“We need to finish,” Hellriegel said. “We have a good lineup, we have a good set of hitters. We’ve just got to get the bats going a little better.”
Catcher Trey Wall can see the improvement from the Knights’ 1-6 start.
“We’ve come a long ways,” Wall said. “Things might not have gone our way tonight, but we definitely competed.”
Dylon Alexander pitched a complete game for the Knights against Green Hope.
“He’s not overpowering by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s always low pitch-count, around the zone and getting people out,” Vaglio said.
Future of the KRC
Vaglio said he hopes to grow the tournament in the future. In the first two years, the tournament had eight teams and was a standard bracket.
“Next year we’re going to look to expand to possibly six and eight teams and get more teams involved and possibly do a JV tournament with it,” Vaglio said.
Knightdale is the only Wake County school that hosts its own spring break tournament.
“It’s just a nice environment here,” Miragliuolo said. “The extra fields are great to warm-up on, they kind of allowed us to stay on schedule today.”
Nick Fredricks noticed what the Knights faithful added to the atmosphere in the close contest.
“It was definitely nice having the home crowd here to back us up. It made a big difference,” Fredricks said.
Green Hope: Daniel Weygandt, Luca Scelsi, Matt Duckworth, Newbold, Yoder.
Hillside: Daquon Allen, Antonio Hart.
Knightdale: Williams, Wall, Hellriegel, Logan Pope.
Blake: 919-460-2606; On Twitter: @JMBpreps