Apr 17, 2014
The Green Hope Falcons will continue their reign atop the 4-A Southwest Wake Athletic Conference standings for at least another week.
Scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Falcons broke a late 3-3 tie to defeat the Middle Creek Mustangs and earn their eighth conference win this season.
The Mustangs, who stayed competitive throughout the game before giving up a 2-RBI single to Chris Tutwiler in the sixth to dig a three-run hole, fall to 3-5 in the conference after the loss.
"You don’t want to be that team that has a bad defensive inning," said Middle Creek head coach Wesley King. "In these close games, there’s a team that gives up a walk with nobody out or makes a bad throw. Really good teams find a way to win those games, and they found a way."
With the game knotted at 3-3, the bottom of the sixth began when Middle Creek pitcher Liam Brew walked Vincent Addona. Two batters later, the Mustangs elected to intentionally walk catcher and senior captain Thomas Yoder, who hit a double earlier in the game.
With two men on, a single from Stephen Pitarra loaded the bases and another single from Matt Duckworth scored Addona to give Green Hope the 4-3 lead.
Two batters later, Tutwiler put the game out of reach. The 6-3 Falcon lead held as three Mustang batters went down in order in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Michael Merryman pitched a complete game to earn the win. He is now 6-1 on the year. He entered the game with a .41 ERA and gave up just one earned run in the game.
"This year he’s been there, mentally," said Green Hope head coach Mike Miragliuolo. "He’s become a man this year. He’s having an amazing year statistically, but he’s also growing up a lot and becoming a leader."
Liam Brew picked up the loss for Middle Creek. He struck out four batters through five innings before being replaced by Tyler Sholar in the bottom of the sixth.
Merryman struck out six batters in the game.
"I struggled in the first few innings but I got my confidence back, and then let my team do its job," Merryman said. "We hit the ball and played good defense, and when that came on and we tied it up I knew I could come back and get the game."
The Falcons scored the first run of the game when Addona reached third on an outfield error. He came home on a hit from Eric Gilbert.
Middle Creek tied the game in the second inning when Zeke Barefoot was hit by a pitch, then moved to second on a wild pitch and scored after an error in the Green Hope outfield.
"It was an ugly game," Miragliuolo said. "I think both teams would probably say it was pretty ugly."
A double from Trevor Heasley in the third inning scored Sholar and Diego Guerrero to give Middle Creek a 3-1 lead. The Falcons responded with runs in the bottom of the third and fourth.
With the win, the Falcons improve to 8-1 in the SWAC with their only blemish coming to the Panther Creek Catamounts, who stay on Green Hope's heels at 7-2. The teams meet again in their last game of the regular season on May 6.
Follow Zach Mayo on Twitter at @ZachMayoHSOT
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