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Legion tournament: Caldwell eliminates Eastern Randolph

By Marny Hendrick

sports@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Caldwell County is now in full survive and advance mode in the state American Legion baseball tournament, after scratching and clawing past Eastern Randolph, 7-3, Sunday afternoon at Newman Park.

Right-hander Brandon Sisk went the distance on the mound for Post 29 (29-12) by effectively scattering seven hits in claiming the win and eliminating Eastern Randolph. The rising junior at South Caldwell High struck out five batters and did not issue any walks, although he did plunk a couple of batters with pitches.

“Some pitches got away from me and I did hit a couple of batters,” Sisk said of his estimated 100-pitch outing. “But I didn’t let it affect me and just kept working to get the next out.”

Caldwell has now won two straight after a tough, 6-2 loss to Hope Mills on the opening day of the double-elimination tournament last Friday. The next step in the survival process comes Monday night at 7 p.m., against either Rowan County or Hope Mills.

“That is what you do when you get down here and lose the first game out,” said Post 29 Coach Myron Day, of his team living on the edge. “But I have always believed if we could get past the first couple of games, we are deep enough in pitching to go as far as we can go.”

Getting a complete game effort from his young hurler, Sisk, helped the cause because it kept Caldwell out of their bullpen, saving arms for another day. “That was huge for Sisk,” said Day. “We had a lot of trust in him and faith in him and he really came through for us today.”

The Post 29 offense pieced together a string of singles as part of a 14-hit attack, scratching out single runs in the first, second, eighth and ninth innings. The decisive frame, however, was the top of the sixth, when Post 29 chased Eastern Randolph starter Chase Fuquay with three runs on four hits, taking a 5-1 lead.

Singles by Bailey Dollar, Tanner Parham, Tre Harper and Colton Henthorne did the damage as Post 29 effectively played station-to-station offense. They made it 6-1 in the seventh inning as Harper drove in Mason Biddix with another single.

“That is the way we play,” Day stated. “We don’t have anybody to beat the walls down, so we play a lot of moving the runners, bunting and one base at a time.”

Eastern Randolph (25-13) out of Area III, plated an unearned run in the seventh inning when Sisk issued a walk and then hit Bryson Beck. Brayden King hit a comeback grounder to Sisk, but he threw the ball over the second baseman’s head, trying to start a double play. With a run in and two on base, Sisk notched a key strikeout of Chayce Aldridge to avoid further damage.

Caldwell used a gap double by Trent Wakefield to make the score 7-2 in the eighth inning but Eastern responded with a single run in the bottom half on an Easton Jones double and a Bailey Steed single.

Sisk nailed down the win with a quick ninth inning, getting a strikeout, fly out and ground out.

“The team hit the ball real well today and gave me good run support,” Sisk said. “I just went out and threw the ball the best I could.”

Caldwell County 110 003 110 — 7 14 3

Eastern Randolph 010 000 110 — 3 7 2

WP — Brandon Sisk

LP — Chase Fuquay

 

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