CARY — Stellar defense, outstanding pitching and a couple of timely two-out base hits were the keys to Green Hopes 2-1 win over Holly Springs on Thursday night in a Tri-Nine 4A Conference baseball game.
Green Hope, ranked No. 3 in the News and Observer poll, had to be at the top of its game, though, as Holly Springs. ranked second in the poll, was also flawless in the field behind junior pitcher Andy Wantz (5-1).
Green Hope is 13-3 overall and 7-3 in the league, while Holly Springs is 14-3 and 8-3. Both teams trail Fuquay-Varina and Middle Creek in the conference standings.
All around it was just a great game, Green Hope coach Michael Miragliuolo said. And coming off a loss, I was really proud we were able to come back to get the sweep against a very good team and maybe the best pitcher in the county (Wantz).
Falcons starting pitcher Luca Scelsi (3-1) pitched the first six innings and drove in courtesy runner Troy Maslowski with the winning run in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out single. Maslowski was running for junior catcher Thomas Yoder who had doubled.
Sceli pitched great and then got the big hit. Hes a competitor and came through in the clutch for them, Holly Springs coach Rod Whitesell said. We only got the one run and they made some good defensive plays, especially the centerfielder.
Falcons centerfielder Jonny Newbold, a senior, made a clutch throw to the plate in the sixth to nail a runner and then made a diving catch in the top of the seventh for his team.
Newbolds plays were just amazing, Miragliuolo said. Both of those plays were game changers.
Newbold also scored the first run of the game. He led off the bottom of the first with a walk, advanced to second and third on groundouts and scored on shortstop Stephen Pitarras single.
I like working on defense, the footwork and reading the ball off the bat, Newbold said. And then youve got to be ready for those chances in the game.
Holly Springs scored its only run in the sixth. After Newbold threw pinch-runner Jordan Duncan out at the plate, Trey Cobb singled in Ryan Byrd, who also reached on a single.
Sophomore Matt Duckworth pitched the top of the seventh for the Falcons, retiring the three batters he faced, with a little help from Newbold.
A lot of guys stepped up, Miragliuolo said. Duckworth hasnt given up an earned run in 12 innings so we put him out there in clutch situations and Yoder has been rock-solid behind the plate. And Sceli and Pitarra got the clutch two-out hits to drive in runs.