Blake Walters picked up his second win and accounted for three runs to lead Heritage to a 7-2 win against Holly Springs in the Wake County Invitational title game Monday night on its home field.
West Point-bound Walters, recruited as a pitcher, is happy with his work on the mound and the plate.
“I struggled a little with my command, and that’s been a recurring problem for me,” said Walters, who is 2-0 in three starts. “But I found my control and hit my stride after the second and third innings.”
Walters allowed only two hits and struck out eight in six innings as the Huskies improved to 8-1. He walked twice – with courtesy runner Tyler Porter scoring both times – and had a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning for a 5-2 lead.
Never miss a local story.
Designated hitter Justin Kunz led the Huskies at the plate. He was 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
“We didn’t hit, but their pitcher did a good job,” said Holly Springs coach Rod Whitesell, whose team dropped to 5-2. “Our pitchers walked too many guys and then they followed with singles.”
Holly Springs and Heritage won first- and second-round games Friday and Saturday to advance to the final. Holly Springs defeated Knightdale 3-0 and Sanderson 5-4. Heritage beat Apex 11-1 in six innings and Fuquay-Varina 5-4.
Heritage pitcher Ryan Pifer was the tournament most valuable player.
Heritage scored in the first on a two-run single by Kunz for a 2-0 lead. The Huskies regained a 4-2 lead in the third and tacked on two more in the fourth for a 6-2 advantage.
In the third, Walters walked with one out. Porter, who ran for Walters, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. He scored on Kunz’s third RBI, a fly ball to center field. At first it appeared to be an easy run, but centerfielder Pat Wheeler made a strong throw that forced Porter to slide under the tag. Brad Mize followed with a single, stole second and came home on a Dylan Reget’s single.
In the fourth, Vinny Bailey and Drew Waterman scored after they opened the inning with walks. Bailey came home on Walters’ fly ball to center field and Waterman on Kunz’s single, his fourth and final RBI.
For Holly Springs, Chase Hotzel and Tyler Babin tallied runs after they walked. Hotzel came home on a double-steal and Alex Rengel knocked in Babin with a single.
In earlier games Monday, Panther Creek defeated East Wake 7-2 and Fuquay-Varina beat Knightdale 5-2. Third place and other finishes were not declared.
Other scores from Friday’s first round: Fuquay-Varina 16, East Wake 12; Sanderson 12, Panther Creek 2. Other scores from Saturday’s second-round: Apex 15, East Wake 2; Panther Creek 12, Knightdale 0.