MINT HILL, NC – The 2021 high school baseball season opened on Monday, April 26, after a 409 days pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Independence Patriots started back up right where they left off, at Hickory Ridge High School in Harrisburg, North Carolina. On that night in March 2020, the Patriots came from behind and took a 7-5 extra-inning conference win and the season ended at midnight.
So on Monday evening the Patriots returned to Hickory Ridge High School to open the shortened 2021 season and walked away with another conference win.
Indy’s Wilson Lohrer started the top of the first with a walk. With Lohrer on first, Brandon Moser came to the plate and blasted the hardest-hit ball all night long clearing the left-field fence for a two-run home run. Indy’s next batter Carson Gesing singled to right field and reached second on a passed ball. Gesing later scored on a PJ Chiles sacrifice fly to center field, and the Patriots led 3-0 after a half-inning of play.
In the bottom half of the first, Hickory Ridge posted two runs on two hits cutting Indy’s lead to one run 3-2.
Neither team managed any runs in the second.
In the top half of the third, Wilson Lohrer reached for a second time with a double to right field. After Brandon Moser’s first-inning homer, the Bulls walked Moser putting runners on first and second. After Indy hit into a double play, Taylor Moser reached on an error scoring Wilson Lohrer to make the score 4-2 heading into the bottom of the third.
In the bottom half of the inning, pitcher Carson Gesing and the Indy defense did a skillful job shutting down the Bulls. With the bases loaded and no outs, Gesing struck out the next batter. The Bulls next batter popped out to second, and the third out came on a fly ball to the right field that sat the Bulls down and left the bases loaded.
After shutting down the Bulls in the fourth inning, Indy plated three runs on no hits. Jake Stanley started the inning with a walk followed by Garrett Lawrence being hit by a pitch. Luke Chantry, Wilson Lohrer, and Brandon Moser all drew walks. Two more Indy players reached after being hit by a pitch.
Jake Stanley started the fifth with a bunt and advanced to second after Garrett Lawrence reached base after being hit by a pitch. Indy’s head coach Sam Skinner called for a double steal which was successful. A few pitches later Stanley scored on a passed ball. Then Lawrence scored on a called balk making the score 9-3 after five full innings.
Taylor Moser scored the Patriots’ final run in the top of the sixth. After being hit by a pitch, Moser scored off a double by PJ Chiles. The Bulls answered back with a run in the bottom half of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Bulls scored two runs on three hits to make the final score 10-6 giving the Patriots a season opener win.
Independence 301 321 0 – 10
Hickory Ridge 200 011 2 – 6