Watch out for Fuquay-Varina. The second half of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference baseball season has arrived.
The slow-starting Bengals beat Cary 16-4 in five innings by the mercy rule Tuesday night at the Imps’ field to finish the first half of SWAC play at 5-3 and 8-5 overall.
A year ago, Fuquay dipped to 5-3 in conference play before starting a 14-game winning streak that didn’t end until a runner-up finish in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A East regional final.
“We’re definitely confident about the second half,” said senior Brycen Braswell. “We were in the same situation in last year, so we have a lot of confidence.”
Braswell was 2-of-5 with four RBIs, including a three-run triple to right-centerfield in the top of the fifth inning for the mercy-rule cushion. He pitched the fifth and final inning in in relief of starting and winning pitcher Trent Seibert.
The scoreboard showed Fuquay tallied four runs in the fourth inning and seven in the fifth, but the turning point was the bottom of the third.
After struggling to start the game the first two innings, Seibert said he found his curveball. He sat down the Imps 1-2-3 with two strikeouts and a ground ball to shortstop. He struck out two more in the fourth for six in four innings. He also was 2-of-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Three to know
Donald Nichols, Fuquay-Varina: Braswell mentioned the bottom of the order’s production providing for a team effort. Nichols, playing second base and batting ninth, was 2-of-3 with two RBIs.
Jake Baize, Fuquay-Varina: The Bengals’ catcher batting eighth was 2-of-2 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. He also walked and was hit by a pitch to get on base four times.
Greg Jones, Cary: The Imps shortstop led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored. He was 1-of-2 with a walk. He was also busy in the field with six putouts and digging out two grounders deep in the hole for close plays at first despite calls that went to the runners.
They said it
“We just finished five games in six days so our pitching took a toll from that. Fuquay hit the ball and capitalized on it. We won four games in a row, so we’ve got to build off that and improve on the things we need to work on.” – Cary coach Brian Yerger.
Out of bounds
On a night the temperature was 51 degrees and falling for the first pitch, Cary’s concession stand reported record sales of hot chocolate.