Trailing by six runs going into the sixth inning, Orange stormed back to score ten runs in the final six outs for a remarkable 11-9 victory over Northern Durham on Friday afternoon at the Knights’ field.
Orange pinch-hitter Chandler Compton, who has signed to played soccer at Wofford, knocked in the game-winning run on an RBI groundout, scoring Landon Riley. Cole Campanile added an insurance RBI single to knock in Johnny Flynn. Ryan Puckett threw the final two innings for his first win.
Northern (0-2) trailed 3-1 before a six-run third inning. East Carolina recruit Spencer Smith tied the game with a two-run homer to left. Five batters later, right fielder Carl Fowler hit a grand slam to give Northern a 7-3 lead.
In the fifth, Smith, the team’s catcher, added a two-run blast to his total to pad the Northern lead to 9-3.
Orange (2-0) started the comeback with a five-run sixth inning. Compton, pinch hitting for Jamiel Jordan, triggered the rally with an RBI single down the third base line.
It was Orange’s second victory over a defending 4A conference champion in three days. The Panthers defeated Leesville Road 5-1 on Wednesday.
With Orange trailing 9-6 and the bases loaded with two out, Brad Debo hit a chopper to shortstop. Northern’s Tyler Mangum appeared to have an easy force out at second of Mehl, but the second baseman dropped the ball.
Flynn scored and the bases were still loaded. On the next at-bat, Wilson was hit by a pitch, scoring Flynn. Instead of a 9-6 deficit, Orange trailed 9-8 going into the seventh.
They said it
“We haven’t had a comeback like that since the mid-90s, probably. Chandler is getting his baseball feet underneath him. That kid has worked so hard on his hitting. One his drills. He takes it very seriously,” Orange Coach Dean Dease.
Three to know
Chandler Compton, Orange: After finishing basketball season eight days ago, Compton was vital in the improbable Orange comeback with two RBIs in the final two innings.
Ryan Puckett, Orange: Making his first varsity start, Puckett started at third base. Then he came on in relief of Eli Haithcock to throw two scoreless relief innings for the win. He also reached on a single in the critical sixth inning after Bryse Wilson led off the frame with his own base hit, which started the comeback.
Cameron Mehl, Orange: Went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a vital seventh inning RBI to score Flynn.
... and two more
Carl Fowler, Northern: Hitting 1-for-3 is fine. Making that one hit a grand slam is a whole lot better.
Spencer Smith, Northern: Both of Smith’s hits in a 2-for-5 night were homers, producing five runs batted in.