By Scott Richards
Over spring break the Caroline Diamond Boys found themselves busy going 2-2 in a tournament put on by Riverbend High School. Play for the Cavaliers began and ended with the Indians of Stafford High School. On Monday, Caroline beat the Indians with a score of 6-5 in a close game where all scoring stopped after three innings. Tuesday saw the Cavaliers demolish Massaponax High School 16-4, only to lose to Riverbend 8-7 on Wednesday on a last inning run. It was cold and misty on Thursday night when the tournament was moved to Stafford High School because of the condition of Riverbend’s infield. Stafford and Caroline squared off for the second time this week, with the Indians taking the tournament nightcap 7-4.
Caroline came into the tournament with only one win under their belts, but soon remedied that with a 6-5 win over Stafford. The Cavaliers jumped to a 5-2 lead after two and then added an insurance run in the third. The insurance paid off as Stafford scored three runs in the third to close the margin to within one at 6-5. There was no scoring after third.
Winning pitcher Cole Grinde went two innings, allowing four runs from three hits and walking four. Collin Hess relieved Grinde in the third, accumulating five hits, of which only one scored as he struck out seven and walked one. Alex Desjarlais was hot at bat, going 2-3 on the day with a double and a home run. Tyler Tarrh’s home run gave him a 1-3 record with 2 RBI.
Losing pitcher David Pettingil was on the mound for three innings and was charged with all six of the Cavalier runs, allowing six hits. He struck out one and walked one. In the fourth inning Omar Handley came in as relief, shutting down the Cavaliers and allowing only two hits. Taylor Bonney and Cole Sowers led the Indians as each batted 2-4.
Tuesday turned out to be batting practice for the Cavaliers as they destroyed Massaponax 16-4, gathering a total of fourteen hits. Desjarlais went four innings was awarded the win. Massaponax scored all of their runs against him and collected six hits. Desjarlais struck out three and walked two. Bill Woljcik was the lead bat for the Cavs, hitting 4-4 and scoring four runs and an RBI. Jacob Pugh and Grinde backed up Woljcik as they both went 2-4 with a double, scoring two runs and two RBI.
The losing pitcher for Massaponax, Zach Runk, pitched three innings. Caroline fanned him with seven hits and nine runs as he struck out two and walked three. Andrew Wolfe came to the mound in the third and pitched one and two thirds innings. Caroline accumulated seven runs and seven hits from Wolfe, while being struck out only once and walked three times. Closer Travis Riley pitched the last out and struck out the only batter he faced. Catcher Willis Corey provided most of the offense for Massaponax, batting 1-3 and scoring two runs.
In what had to be the most exciting game for the Caroline Cavaliers, Riverbend got a walk off run in the seventh to take a 8-7 victory. Tied at one apiece through four innings, Riverbend broke loose in the fifth, scoring four runs to jump ahead 5-1. Two more runs in the sixth inning gave them a 7-1 lead, but the Cavaliers came charging back scoring six runs in the sixth to tie the game at 7-7. In the end, it was Riverbend 8, Caroline 7 for the Cavs first loss in the tournament.
Caroline pitcher Tyler Tarrh added five runs and six hits to his record while accumulating two strikeouts and three walks. Matt Carter was the losing pitcher as he closed out the game beginning in the sixth inning and was charged with three runs and three hits. Carter walked four batters. Stephen Miller led the Cavaliers at the plate with a 2-4 performance including a double and run scored. Catcher Ryan Hickman was 2-4 with a double, run scored and an RBI.
Jake Benfield pitched six innings for Riverbend, allowing Caroline to score seven runs with six hits and two walks. Benfield struck out two. In the seventh inning, closer Matt Kerns came to the mound striking out one and walking two, and was awarded the win. Cody Forster, 2-3, hit a double and scored a run in the fifth leading the offense with two runs and an RBI. John James was close behind at 2-4 scoring one run and two RBI.
Thursday night was the night cap for the tournament and as Caroline started out against Stafford with Hickman on the mound, it looked as if it may be a repeat of Monday’s game. Stafford went down in order with only nine pitches in the first. When coming to bat in the same inning, the Cavaliers picked up two runs. After a scoreless second, Stafford came to bat in the third and had no hits, but five unearned runs. The inning closed out with the score Stafford 5, Caroline 3. Stafford was able to score two more runs in the fourth and Caroline scored one in the sixth to give Caroline their second loss of the tournament 7-4.
Caroline pitcher Hickman was charged with the loss, striking out two while allowing four hits and seven runs. Relieving Hickman in the fifth was Grinde. who struck out five while walking one. Grinde led the Cavalier offense hitting 3-4 with one run scored and an RBI. Tyler Tarrh was 1-4 with a double, a run, and an RBI.
The win was awarded to David Pettingil, who went four innings and was charged with six hits and three runs. Tanner Sullivan came to the mound in the fifth inning in relief. Sullivan walked one and struck out five, but was hit on three times and scored on once. Michael Sterne hit a triple and scored two runs to add to the Stafford effort.
This week finds Caroline at Courtland on Tuesday and then at James Monroe on Friday. Next week the Diamond Boys can be seen at Caroline Stadium where they take on the Chancellor Chargers.