Legion Tournament: High Point takes down Garner
SALISBURY — High Point slammed the door on the Garner Nationals in the top of the eighth inning en route to a 15-7 win in the first round of the American Legion state tournament.
With Garner leading 7-6 in the top of the eighth and teammate Corey Brandenburg on third, Ryne Stanley popped a suicide squeeze bunt just over the top of the glove of charging third baseman Matt Duckworth. Brandenburg easily scored the game-tying run.
Garner relief pitcher Langdon Wilson pegged High Point’s Colin Lipke with the bases loaded, and the HiToms were ahead 8-7. Jake Moebius tacked on a two-RBI single, and Luke Gesell had a run-scoring single of his own for a four-run High Point lead.
Lipke supplied a bases-clearing, three-RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning that tracked all the way to the base of the wall in center field. That was followed by Moebius’ own RBI double that sealed a 15-7 lead.
Moebius was the game’s leading hitter with a 5-for-6 day with four RBIs. Zach McLean and Corey Brandenburg contributed a pair of two-hit performances.
High Point’s Ryan Caveness hit a three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning for a 5-1 lead.
It was a good start to the state tournament for High Point, which was swept in a best-of-three series in the final of the Area III Tournament.
“I think we’re definitely talented enough to win the tournament,” Moebius said. “This is who we are. This is HiToms baseball.”
High Point rode starting pitcher Bryce Lance for 6-1/3 innings. Justin Olczak, pitching in relief, earned the victory.
Garner starting pitcher Ryan Lee took the loss. He tossed five innings of five-hit, five-run baseball.
There were also a handful of errors by High Point. Garner broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning when High Point catcher, with Garner’s Cole Hinnant on third, tried to nail Matthew Barefoot on an attempted steal. Neither middle infielder was there to cover the bag, and the ball rolled into center field. Hinnant trotted home for a 1-0 lead.
The HiToms committed four errors in the ball game.
“We have got to be better defensively because we are not going to put up 14 runs, 15 runs every single game,” High Point head coach Rob Shore said. “And defensively we have not been on point the last three games. So we got to make sure we clean that up.”
Hinnant smashed a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning over the Rowan County sheriff Kevin Auten sign and into the trees in left field to cut High Point’s lead to 4-3. It was the highlight of a 4-for-6 day at the plate for Hinnant that included three runs scored.
High Point 000 230 154 — 15 14 4
Garner 001 020 400 — 7 11 4
WP — Olzcak. LP — Lee. HR — High Point: McLean, Caveness. Garner: Hinnant.
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