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Catawba baseball: Query leads sweep of Bears

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
Literally and figuratively, the dark clouds drifted away from Newman Park.
The sun came out on Easter Sunday for Senior Day, and stocky senior catcher Ryan Query turned in a storybook performance to lead Catawba’s 10-7 victory against rival Lenoir-Rhyne.
The win finished a sweep of the Bears, who looked stronger than Catawba early this season. It kept the Indians (23-13, 12-3) in the hunt for the SAC championship.
Query hammered a pair of three-run homers. There was no doubt on either. Both came on the first pitch.
“It’s been a tough spring with all the rain,” Query said. “Every time we think we’re about to get into a rhythm we get rained out.”
Query started slowly, but now he’s back to where he always finishes. He has a career-best 11 homers and a team-high 48 RBIs. He’s batting .343.
Catawba lost two of the finest offensive players in school history in the draft last June ó David Thomas and Jerry Sands. The offense had to drop off a bit, and the Indians were shut out back-to-back recently on a road trip to South Carolina.
“I think some of our veterans felt they had to carry us without David and Jerry,” Catawba coach Jim Gantt said. “Guys like Ryan pressed. It wasn’t like they weren’t trying.They were just trying too hard.”
Query agreed.
“I started slow from trying to do too much,” he said. “But then I realized we have a good team. I just have to do what I can do.”
Walks to Craige Lyerly and Brett Hatley set up Query’s first homer ó a shot over the scoreboard in the first.
Solo homers by Lyerly and Cameron White helped the Indians stake pitcher Alex Fairweather (3-2) to a 6-0 lead, but the Bears (23-17, 9-9) chipped away. It was 6-4 by the seventh when L-R’s Zach Glass flied out to the warning track in right with one on and very nearly tied the game.
But Query provided a cushion when he mashed a three-run homer to left-center in the bottom of the inning. It rose quickly and exited the park in a hurry. Query paused for just a moment to study the flight pattern.
“As a catcher, I don’t like for guys to admire their homers,” Query said. “But I did watch that one just a little. I don’t hit very many that I know are out. That one ó I knew I got it.”
Query’s Senior Day rivaled the show Thomas put on last season. With help from Lyerly’s three runs and Kevin McMillan’s two RBIs, he carried the Indians into a showdown today with SAC leader Tusculum. The crucial, long-delayed doubleheader starts at 4 p.m. at Newman Park ó weather permitting.
“We have a chance now,” Gantt said. “But we know we were fortunate to sweep Lenoir-Rhyne. We were fortunate Ryan had the swings that he did at the times that he did.”

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