MINT HILL, NC – The much improved Queen’s Grant Stallions played a tight ball game against favored Pine Lake Prep in a non-conference matchup on their home field in extra innings. First-year head coach Austin Kegarise has the Stallions playing solid fundamental baseball.
Stallion starter Emanuel Abreau pitched 7.2 innings in a gutsy performance before he began to run out of gas in the eighth inning. He tossed 104 pitches in the ballgame spreading around only 4 hits until the final frame.
Meanwhile, senior Alwin Duran continued to impress with another solid performance providing the offense with just enough firepower in clutch situations going 2-3 with 2 RBI’s in the contest. He smacked a base hit in the first inning to give the Stallions a 1-0 early lead. However, his two-out double to deep center field in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the ballgame was the big blow that extended the game into extra innings.
Apparently, the Pride from Pine Lake has some arms on their pitching staff. They used three pitchers who all had good fastballs in the 80 MPH range and one, in particular, a sharp breaking curveball that kept the Stallions one hit away from jumping out on top. The Stallions stranded 8 baserunners, they simply could not get a key hit in the middle innings until the seventh frame during regulation throughout the contest.
With a score 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th inning, Julien Stegall led off the inning with a walk, Matthew Reilly laid down a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to advance Stegall to second base, Patrick Gargano took a big cut on a third strike for the second out, Isaias Canela reached on a ground ball error putting runners on the corners, then Duran delivered drilling a rocket over the center fielders head, a short hop from the fence 343 feet from home plate to score the tying run, sending the game into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth inning with the score tied at 2 runs apiece, Abreu just ran out of gas, the good hitting Pride lineup banged out 4 hits including 2 walks while scoring 4 runs to remove Abreu from the ballgame. Caleb Bernash came in relief and promptly walked the next batter, but he was able to get the final out on his 10th pitch of the inning.
In the bottom half of the eighth inning, the Stallions were able to get a baserunner, but were could not mount a comeback ending this hard-fought ballgame. The Stallions are now 3-3 overall on the season and 2-0 in their conference.