Green Hope High School got a no-hitter from pitcher Chris Joyner and took care of business at the plate, defeating Broughton High School 13-1 in the Bobby Murray Baseball Invitational Tournament at Millbrook High School to help win a co-championship.
The Falcons shared the hardware with Southwest Wake Athletic Conference foe Middle Creek. Both teams won three times in the Bobby Murray and both allowed just two runs, which was the only tiebreaker before declaring co-champs.
Green Hope defeated Wake Forest 10-0, Broughton 13-1 and Wakefield 10-1. Middle Creek beat Wakefield 13-0, Broughton 2-0 and Wake Forest 8-2.
On a chilly Saturday morning against Broughton, Green Hope’s Joyner was throwing heat. Even though it took time for the bats to warm up, the Falcons closed the game strong against a young Capitals squad.
“We got on them early. It was nice to score the runs and feel more comfortable,” Green Hope head coach Michael Miragliulo said. “Everybody produced a little and Joyner was very tough to hit, obviously.”
Joyner, a UNC-Wilmington commit, went all five innings for the Falcons and finished with eight strikeouts. By the time he took the mound in the bottom of the first, Green Hope was up 4-0.
Vincent Addona got on base after he was hit by a pitch, stole second and third, and came home on a passed ball. After the Falcons drew three consecutive walks, Austen Jones and Brian Martschenko drove in back-to-back runs. Sean McQuillan drove in the final run of the opening inning.
The left-hander struck out the first batter he faced, setting the tone for a solid performance on the hill. With a strong wind gust and temperatures in the mid 40s, Joyner proved to be a flamethrower right from the start.
“It was hard at first,” Joyner said. “But then I just kind of got into it. Things just started working.”
In the top of the second, Green Hope piled up five more runs for an early 9-0 advantage. Trevor Losito drove in a run with a single and Drew Hegeman came home on a passed ball. Matt Duckworth and Jones then each drove in runs before the Caps decided to switch pitchers.
In the top of the third, Victor Vargas got on base with a single and Mitch Spence advanced to first thanks to an error from Broughton, allowing Kyle Van Ryn (who was hit by a pitch) to come home, making it 10-0.
A sacrifice fly from Hegeman in the fourth and RBIs from Jordan Montgomery and Jacob Eller rounded out the scoring for the Falcons, who finished the day with eight hits, but were able to gather more runs thanks to some aggressive baserunning.
“Their pitcher had a few control issues, and we knew the backup catcher was in,” Miragliulo said. “We made things happen on the bases. I thought we did some smart baserunning on a few miscues on their part. It kind of put them (Broughton) in a hole.”
Joyner also struck out the side to end the game.
“I started to mix things up more,” Joyner said. “I started to throw in sliders, curves, and it worked.”
“(My defense) did great. They gave 100 percent. I appreciate that, every pitcher appreciates that. They are hard workers and they did their job very well.”
The Caps’ lone run came in the bottom of the third thanks to an error in center field by the Falcons.
“Green Hope is a very good team,” Broughton head coach Harry Jones said. “They played very well. We’re struggling. We’re young in spots … we’ve got to figure out how to put it all together.”
Other scores: Wake County Home School went 2-1 in the tournament (included a 5-4 win against Wakefield) while Millbrook went 1-1 (lost 3-2 to New Bern, beat Bunn 7-0) and Broughton 0-3 (also lost 11-0 to Wake County Home School).
In the Wakefield pool, Wake Forest went 1-2 (beat Wake County Home School 9-5) and Wakefield went 0-2.
Bunn and New Bern were not part of the original field, but after a team pulled out they were invited to play Millbrook so that all teams got at least two games out of the tournament.
All-tournament: Addona was named tournament MVP and teammates Joyner, Michael Merryman and Martschenko also made the all-tournament team. Middle Creek’s Diego Guerrero, Trevor Heasley and Tucker Rogers made the team as did Wake Forest’s Cole Abshire, Broughton’s Will Baldwin, Wakefield’s Brandon Stetkiewicz, Millbrook’s Andrew Strickland and Wake County Home School’s Ryan Gosney.