Green Hope, which has had a very successful baseball program over the years, finally captured the Bobby Murray Chevrolet High School Invitational Baseball Tournament championship.
The Falcons (11-1) scored early and held off South Granville in the championship game, a 5-2 win at Millbrook Saturday night.
In four previous appearances in the 27-year old event, Green Hope went 2-1 each time, but rode a young pitching staff to the title this year.
“This is a good win for Green Hope,” said Green Hope senior catcher Thomas Yoder, named the tournament's MVP after going 6-for-10 at the plate. “We played and beat some quality teams in pressure situations, which should give us some confidence. When we get in games like this we know we can win, but we should also expect to win.”
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Junior Matt Duckworth pitched the first three innings and sophomore lefty Chris Joyner threw the next two as the Falcons built a 5-0 lead.
“Those two guys were dominating over the first five innings,” Green Hope coach Mike Miragliuolo said. “But then we got a little wild and things got intense. After that Mitch Spence came in and was extremely clutch in that situation. He’s a sophomore and we brought him to the tournament to pitch in this game if we needed him and we did. That’s a pretty good team (South Granville) over there.”
South Granville only got two hits in the game and scored its two runs in the sixth on an error and four walks, but Spence retired six of the seven batters he faced to pick up the save.
Green Hope jumped ahead 3-0 in the first after a double by Vincent Addona, and singles by Eric Gilbert, Stephen Pitarra, Duckworth, and Chris Tutwiler. The Flacons had 11 hits in the game, with Gilbert getting three, and Addona, Yoder and Pitarra getting two each.
The Vikings (5-3) played the tournament without the pitching services of its ace, freshman Justin Bullock. He was injured and able to play first, but not pitch.
“We're young, with some talent,” South coach Curt Watkins said. “Playing teams like this helps us. Green Hope’s three and four (pitchers) were as good as we’ll see.”
Also named all-tournament were Green Hope’s Gilbert, and junior pitchers Troy Maslowski and Michael Merryman, South Granville’s Zack Moore and Lee Whitt, Millbrook's Alex Royalty, Middle Creek's Justin Hagenburg, Broughton’s Rob Case, Wake Forest's Cam Johnson, Wakefield's Evan Brabrand, and Person County’s Daniel Huff.
Also Saturday, Millbrook beat Middle Creek 4-0 as Royalty threw a 3-hitter with 9 strikeouts, Broughton topped Wake Forest 11-5, and Wakefield stopped Person 7-2.