Fuquay-Varina powers past Jack Britt, 5-1
Posted May 14, 2016
Updated May 15, 2016
A solo shot and two-run homer helped Fuquay-Varina advance past Jack Britt 5-1 in the second round of the 4-A NCHSAA State Playoffs Saturday.
Austin Harris was the man of the night, pitching a complete game for the No. 24 Bengals, and scoring the first run in against the No. 25 Buccaneers with his second-inning lead-off home run.
"Harris was great, he got behind in some counts but came back and battled and pitched a great game," coach Milton Senter said. "He pitched a complete game for us which is big, that sets our pitching up a little bit better for next week. We didn't have to use anybody else. And, of course, (Harris) started us off with the homer."
"I feel like it got it going, but after that everyone else took over," Harris said.
With the 1-0 third inning lead, Kevin Catrine got the lead-off walk for the Bengals. A pop out and ground out later, Kyle Jackson's two-out RBI single made it 2-0.
Harris and the Bengals' defense continued to hold the Buccaneers scoreless through five, when the Fuquay-Varina managed another run across.
Brycen Braswell walked to lead off the inning, then stole around the bases before coming home on a wild pitch for a 3-0 lead.
Bishop scored the Buccaneers' lone run in the sixth inning with a shot over the fence, making it 3-1.
But Aaron Ruble answered in the bottom of the inning, knocking a two-run shot over the fence, scoring Ryan Rizk as he rounded the bases to extend the home team's lead to 5-1.
"I got into a hitter's count and picked out the next fastball I could hit," Ruble said. "I came out of my shoes, that's about it."
From there, Harris was able to get his team through the top of the seventh for the win.
"We always say walks, doubles and homers -- that's what wins games," Senter said. "We got a little bit of all of it. Harris was the key though."
The other key, the one for the Bengals batters, was having an eye and handle for Jack Britt pitcher DJ Bishop's slider.
"We were seeing a lot of wild fast balls, he had a really tight, late-breaking slider that he was throwing for strikes," Harris said.
"(Bishop) is a really great pitcher, that's one of the best sliders I've seen," Senter said. "He was really exceptional. It was tough, the first time around in particular. We try to sit on fast balls like any good team does, but when he (had) it going and was throwing for strikes, it was tough to hit.
"But he got a little wild at times and had to throw a fast ball and we did well with it."
But the pitch was one Fuquay-Varina knew it would face entering the matchup and the win to advance was one in which the team was extra thankful for its scouting report.
"The thing is, we just get to play again next week," said Senter. "We already know it's Greenville Rose. I'm looking forward to it, we haven't played them but twice. We're 1-1."
The details of one meeting, in a nameless tournament, don't get mentioned, but Senter remembers well the other meeting between the teams. It was a home game for Fuqay-Varina in the NCHSAA State Semifinals in 2003 and Rose beat the Bengals on a grand slam.
"The kids are doing great right now and we're just looking forward to playing again," Senter said.