High school baseball: Wonders outscore Hornets in a wild one

Published 6:01 am Friday, April 21, 2023


Staff report

KANNAPOLIS — One of the beautiful things about baseball is an entertaining game can spring up at almost anytime. and almost anywhere.

A.L. Brown (5-12) has taken some lumps in the 4A Greater Metro Conference, while Salisbury (5-14) has been fighting an uphill battle since opening the season with a nine-game losing skid.

Those aren’t pretty records, but when the teams got thrown together for a non-conference game on a mostly quiet Thursday night, they competed like it was Game 7 of the World Series.

The Hornets made quite a comeback, went from four down to three up, on the strength of one huge inning.

But then the Wonders made their own comeback and finally won 11-10 in nine innings.

A.L. Brown led 7-3 after five innings, but the Hornets put together an epic top of the sixth and scored seven times. Three hit batsmen, two walks and two singles preceded a bases-clearing double by Landon Tucker that provided a 10-7 lead.

A.L. Brown got one run back in the bottom of the sixth and stopped Salisbury from adding on in the top of the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Wonders got the two runs they had to have simply by putting the ball in play. The inning began with a single and a walk and after some aggressive base-running, the Wonders plated runs No. 9 and No. 10 with RBI groundouts.

Neither team could score in the eighth.

A.L. Brown’s game-winning run in the ninth was set up by a one-out triple by CJ Gray, a three-sport sophomore who is quite an athlete. The Hornets walked the next two men intentionally to set up a force out at the plate, but the strategy was foiled when Gray was able to head for home on a passed ball.

In addition to Tucker’s key two-bagger, Mike Geter, Evan Koontz, Cole Price and Hank Webb smacked doubles for the Hornets. Geter had two hits. Koontz and Price had two RBIs.

Webb, Koontz and Tucker pitched for the Hornets, with Tucker taking the loss.

Gray had three hits, scored three runs and drove in two for the Wonders. Mason Teal had three hits and two RBIs. Mason Cook had two hits, including a double and scored twice. Luke Duncan tripled and drove in two runs. Hamilton Langley doubled and knocked in two runs.

Jesse Morton shut down the Hornets in the seventh, eighth and ninth and was the winning pitcher.