‘Barons shock Knights

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

WILLIAMSTON – Gates County High used their bats to put up six runs in the fifth inning, and then used their gloves to hold that lead. That offense and defense helped the Red Barons knock off Riverside High here Saturday afternoon in the second round of the NC High School Athletic Association 1A baseball playoffs.

Gates got contributions from up and down the lineup. Parker Cline (1-for-4) and Cole Stallings (1-for-3) both knocked in two runs each while D.J. Smith, Jordan Brinkley, Ron Olsen and Daniel Riddick had the other RBI’s for the Red Barons.

Cline went four solid innings to get the win, giving up a pair of earned runs on three hits and striking out four. Gage Riddick went an inning and surrendered a pair of runs on two hits with two strikeouts while Olsen pitched the sixth and seventh and gave up a run on two hits to record the save.

“We’re playing the game the right way and playing with a lot of confidence,” said ‘Barons coach Jacob Harrell. “Parker was awesome on the mound, competing and keeping guys off balance for those four strong innings. Olsen was also huge, getting his second save of the post-season. We also had a few guys break out offensively and they gave us a few timely hits.”

Gates broke through with the first run of the game in the top of the third inning for a 1-0 lead after three. The early game was a pitching duel between Cline and Connor Harrison.

The Red Baron bats finally got to Harrison as he was chased in the top of the fifth when Gates put six runs up on the scoreboard. They were ahead 7-0 after four-and-a-half innings before the Martin County bats came to life.

The Knights erased four of those Gates runs with a four-run explosion of their own in the bottom of the fifth off Riddick. Still he got out of a late jam with Riverside runners on base and avoided more disaster. The Knights pulled within three at 7-4.

Both teams scored a run each in the sixth inning as Harrell’s confidence in Riddick never wavered. In the seventh he sent Olsen out and the young freshman retired the side facing only four batters. The three-run victory sends Gates to Durham tonight (Tuesday) for a showdown against Voyager Academy; a five-year-old school who knocked Gates out of the playoffs during the Vikings’ first season of competition in 2012.

“We’re coming together at the right time,” said Harrell.