Baseball

Heritage overpowers Rolesville, 12-7

Posted April 15

Heritage defeated Rolesville 12 to 7 in the Bobby Murray Chevrolet High School Baseball Invitational on Saturday, Apr. 15, 2017.
(Photo By: Beth Jewell/HighSchoolOT.com)

— Heritage scored in double digits for the seventh time this season Saturday evening, outmuscling Rolesville, 12-7, in the 2017 Bobby Murray Invitational tournament at Millbrook High School.

The Huskies wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, scoring four runs on five hits in the first inning.

Senior Branden Kunz – Heritage’s starting pitcher – launched a two-run homer over the right field wall that scored sophomore Christian Staresina, who was hit by a pitch in the first at-bat of the game.

Heritage sophomore Drake Thomas singled to right field, which scored his brother Thayer Thomas from second base for the Huskie’ third run, and sophomore Cameron Obrien later singled to score the younger Thomas to give Heritage its four-run lead.

Rolesville scored in the latter half of the inning after a Kunz balk sent Rams’ senior Van Gupton Jr. home from third base, but Heritage matched the run in the second to reclaim its four-run lead.

Heritage added to its lead with a two-out solo shot off the bat of senior Max Ruskie to give the Huskies a 6-1 advantage.

But despite the five-run deficit, the Rams chipped away at the lead with two runs apiece in both the third and fourth innings.

Rolesville junior Jaden Perry cut the Rams’ deficit to one run after an RBI triple to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning that scored junior Andrew Guile and sophomore Spencer Faulkner.

“We tend to do that. We get a nice little lead and then we get complacent with ourselves,” said Heritage manager Thomas Ferrara. “We’ve done enough, so we just sit back and wait for the game to come to us. A better team keeps you in that game and keeps that game closer.”

Ferrara replaced Kunz with senior reliever Hunter Dickerson with one out and a runner on third base. Dickerson struck out the first batter and got the second to ground out to first base, escaping the inning without further damage.

Both teams scored one run apiece in the sixth inning, but Heritage blew the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh inning.

The Thomas brothers were responsible for four of the Huskies’ five runs in the inning. Thayer Thomas sent a sacrifice fly into center field that scored junior Jake Palazzo, and Drake Thomas put the game away with a bases clearing triple.

“That was huge; I didn’t expect that from him [Drake Thomas],” Ferrara said. “Usually he’s a line drive, ground ball up the middle guy, but he got into one. Their pitcher was leaving them up in the zone and we made him pay for it.”

Junior Trent Harris singled to score Thomas and double up Rolesville on the scoreboard, 12-6.

Rolesville added a run of its own in the latter half of the seventh but it wouldn’t be enough to catch the high-powered Huskies.

Heritage scored 12 runs on 12 hits Saturday, but the Huskies were also credited with six errors on the afternoon.

Ferrara was pleased to earn the victory, and to finish the tournament with a 2-1 record, but said his club was fortunate to come away with a win after a number of mistakes.

“A win is a win; I’ll take the win, but six errors is not how you play baseball,” Ferrara said. “We tried to give the game away, but thank goodness we came out in the beginning of the game and hit the ball pretty well.”

Heritage (12-4, 6-2 CAP 8) and Rolesville (10-7, 6-2 Greater Neuse) will both return to conference play on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Huskies will travel to Sanderson, and the Rams are slated to visit Harnett Central.

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