With a potential playoff berth on the line in the Capital Division of the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League, Garner took both ends of a doubleheader against Broughton Friday night to stay very much in the race for postseason play.
And although both games ended with a Trojan win, the blueprint for victory the Trojans used in its 10-9 triumph in the opener and 4-0 victory in the nightcap could not have been more different.
After falling behind Broughton 4-1 early on, Garner posted a huge five-run third inning to take the lead and looked poised to cruise to the win thanks to three insurance runs accumulated in the bottom of the sixth inning that put the Trojans ahead 9-5.
But the Caps battled back in the seventh inning with a four run, two-out rally that included a pair of Trojan errors, an Eric Collins RBI single and a pair of runs coming from bases-loaded walks issued to Nathan Brannon and Wilson White.
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The Trojans (9-4) responded in the last of the seventh, however, when Saylon Kieft led off with a walk, stole second base and then took third on a groundout.
Michael Lamb stepped to the plate and hit the first of his two game-winning knocks for the day as his line drive down the third baseline stayed just inside the foul line to score Kieft and cap off the wild contest in which offense ruled.
“I was just expecting a pitch down the middle so I could try to score him,” said Lamb of his game-winning single. “When I saw it bounce and it kind of tailed around the bag, I knew I could stop (running) … it feels great.”
Lamb’s heroics were not done for the day, nor was his affinity to working the left-field foul line.
Lamb’s solo home run down the line in the second inning of the second contest proved to be all the Trojans would need as a pair of strong pitching performances turned in by Jake Faucette and Chance Corbin helped blank the Caps by the 4-0 score.
“The second game Jake Faucette and Chance Corbin both threw very well,” Garner coach Derik Goffena said, proud of the overall effort displayed by his club for the day. “I thought the approach at the plate was good. We only made one error in both games. For the most part I thought we played well.”
Lamb’s blast was followed by two more runs as Ian Monahan and Kieft each scored from third base on two wild pitches. Levin Woodall drove in Taylor Stephens with a double to left field for another insurance run.
Except this time, there would be no Broughton rally.
Faucette earned the victory going four innings and allowing just a Wilson White single in the first inning. Faucette retired the final 10 batters he faced before Corbin came in and retired all nine batters during three perfect innings in relief.
Jared Feeny came on to pitch three scoreless innings to help Broughton stay within range, but the bats never came to life for the Caps (5-7).
Despite the pair of defeats, Jones saw plenty of promise and improvement in his club on which to focus.
“We’re very much a work in progress,” Jones said of his team. “Our approach is getting better but we need to become more skilled and we need to be a little bit more determined.”
With a week to play, the Trojans, along with Heritage and Sanderson, are all in the mix for one of the top two spots in the Capital Division that will be awarded playoff berths.