High School Sports

Cary comes back to down Athens Drive baseball in walk-off fashion

In a game full of highs and lows, Cary found a way to come back after trailing through seven innings to earn a 7-6 walk-off win against Athens Drive baseball.

In the bottom of the seventh, Jason Hohe smacked a line drive into right field that sent Zach Sides from first to home, clinching the Imps’ (2-6, 1-4) first Southwest Wake Athletic Conference win of the season.

“I always tell them that come from behind wins are the sweetest wins to have,” Cary coach Brian Yerger said. “They kept fighting.”

Sides, despite allowing three runs in the opening inning, pitched a complete game in which his performance seemed to correlate with his pitch count.

“He was out there and he was the guy we wanted on the mound. He was in the right place,” Yerger said. “That’s what leaders do and that’s what he is.”

Athens dropped to (1-6, 0-4), but coach Ryan Westbrook is encouraged by the Jaguars’ recent play.

“There’s room to improve and room to grow,” Westbrook said. “That’s the second game in a row we’ve played well and we have to continue to do that. When we get everyone hitting at the same time, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Turning point

Trailing 5-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Nick Kroner scored Kaden Cotterell and Sides sent Kroner home to tie the score up 5-5 and give the Imps momentum.

They said it

Sides had a lot of emotions in his first career start on the mound.

“It was scary, they scored six runs, but now it feels good,” Sides said. “I was surprised, relieved, really tired and happy. This gives us a lot of confidence heading into next week.”

Three to know

Zach Sides, Cary: Sides won the game and batted 2-for-3 with three RBIs (one on a sacrifice bunt).

Greg Jones, Cary: Jones went 2-for-3 and grabbed extra bases via steal and wild pitches. Athens intentionally walked him to load the bases in the bottom of the sixth.

Sam Enders, Athens Drive: Enders went 3-for-3 with three doubles and four RBIs. He also scored the last run of the night for the Jags.

“He was pretty amazing,” Westbrook said. “We had an injury to one of our keys guys … and he had to lead off did what we needed him to do. The ball was really big for him tonight.”

By the numbers

7: Players to get at least one hit for Cary – Jones, Kroner, Sides, Hohe, Grant Caskey, David Shyrock and Cotterell.

5: Players to get at least one hit for Athens – Keith Markovich, Daniel Dyson, Lane Gorrell, Evan Gallagher and Enders. Adam Stuart also had a sacrifice bunt.