Making his first start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Fuquay-Varina junior left-hander Trent Siebert carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning Thursday, but his Bengals had to hold off a furious rally by Cary to beat the Imps 4-3.
Fuquay (4-2, 2-1) scratched across an important insurance run in the top of the seventh on Justin Shelton’s two-out, run-scoring single for a 4-2 lead.
But Cary (5-5, 1-3) didn’t wilt, as a J.C. Barringer walk scored a run and loaded the bases with two outs. No. 3 hitter Spencer Haroldson, who had doubled in two runs in the sixth, came to the plate, but Bengal reliever Andrew Smith got him to ground into a forceout.
Putting up numbers: Siebert faced the minimum nine batters in the first three innings despite walking two Imps. Both were caught stealing, with Siebert picking off Zach Sides and catcher Jake Baize throwing out Barringer. Siebert walked Greg Jones to lead off the fourth but then retired seven in a row.
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Siebert didn’t realize he had a no-hitter going into the sixth, and his teammates weren’t telling him, either.
“I actually thought (they) had a hit somewhere earlier in the game, but nobody said anything to me,” Siebert said. “It was nice at the end, when everyone was congratulating me. A no-hitter through five, that was kind of awesome.”
Jones had a single in sixth to break up the no-hit bid, and Haroldson ended the shutout with a one-run double a batter later.
Siebert pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up two hits, one earned run, four walks while striking out three. He had the surgery in February 2014 and missed nearly 16 months – “way too long,” he said – before making two relief appearances earlier this season.
Unsung hero: Fuquay shortstop Ryan Rizk made a brilliant play in the fifth that preserved Siebert’s no-hit bid, ranging to his right and making a long throw from the hole to nail Hohe.
What worked: After Carter Hargrove was picked off first in the second, Fuquay reeled off five stolen bases, including two in the fifth inning.
“We picked our spots well and put a little pressure on,” Fuquay coach Milton Senter said. “I thought that particular inning when we got two, the baserunning was major.”
Best quote: Cary coach Brian Yerger on having Haroldson at the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the winning run on base: “We had the right guy at the right place. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. He hits it a little more left or right, hey, you’re interviewing me first.”
Feeling the impact: After losing leads late to Panther Creek and Heritage, Fuquay finally found a way to hold on and win a close game.
“It’s major for our very, very young team to find a way to survive and win,” Senter said. “It builds on you mentally when you lose leads late and you lose games. This is a big confidence thing for us. We’ve talked about being able to close it out. It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but for us it was big.”
Going forward: Cary had won four games in the last six days, so don’t count the improving Imps out of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference race. Senior Barringer said this is “by far” the best team he’s played on.
“The program’s headed in the right direction,” Barringer said.