Green Hope’s 6-1 victory against Holly Springs Tuesday night did more for the Falcons than put them back in a tie for first place in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference standings, according to coach Mike Miragliuolo.
With two conference games to go, the Falcons (17-5, 8-4 SWAC) and Holly Springs (13-6, 8-4) are tied for first place, with Fuquay-Varina a half-game back going into its game Tuesday night against Athens Drive.
“We want to be in first place, of course, but we needed to find our identity again,” Miragliuolo said. “After we lost Troy Maslowski to a broken wrist, we lost our next two games. We lost and didn’t play well.
“Tonight, we got good pitching from Michael Merryman and Mitch Spence, hit the ball and didn’t make any errors. It was an all-round game for us.”
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Merryman (6-1) pitched five innings, gave up four hits and one run. Spence retired the final six batters.
“Tonight my arm felt the best its felt all year,” Merryman said. “That was a must win for us. We’re still looking to win the conference and get a good seed so we can make a run in the state playoffs. Plus with Troy out, we’ve got less depth pitching and it’s up to Spence, Matt Duckworth, Chris Joyner and me now.”
The Falcons took advantage of a walk, hits batsman, an error and sacrifice fly to score first and added three more in the second on one hit, a two-run double by second baseman Nicholas West.
“The hit by West was huge for us,” Miragliuolo said. “Last time we played Holly Springs he got hit in the face with a fastball, and we didn’t know if he would play for us again. The double he got was very impressive.”
Holly Springs coach Rod Whitesell said his team’s poor start was too much to overcome..
“We kind of helped them out,” Whitesell said. “They scored four runs in the first two innings with just one hit. We put ourselves in a hole early, and even when we got men on base, we couldn’t play like we wanted to do, being down.”
Center fielder Trevor Losito had two of Green Hope’s six hits.
Golden Hawks center fielder Patrick Wheeler also had two hits.
“All of our goals are still there,” Whitesell said. “It’s a tight league and anything can happen with two games to play.”
That also goes for Green Hope, Fuquay-Varina and Middle Creek, which entered Tuesday’s action a game behind the leaders.