03/17/17 — BASEBALL: Gators heartily feast on Cougars' offerings

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BASEBALL: Gators heartily feast on Cougars' offerings

By Justin Hayes
Published in Sports on March 17, 2017 9:57 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- You hang'em, we bang'em.

Such was the mantra for the Spring Creek varsity baseball team Thursday afternoon, as it tendered a contact-hitting exhibition en route to posting a 13-2, mercy-rule triumph over Carolina 1-A foe Neuse Charter at "The Swamp."

The lopsided victory moved SC to 2-5 overall this season.

After allowing Neuse Charter to score on an error in its half of the first inning, the Gators quickly set about the course of their controlled demolition show.

In short order, SC scored Levi Miller on a passed ball, then plated Landon Smothers on an RBI from USC-Beaufort signee Kaden Geelen. When Josh Lebron crossed moments later on a Neuse error, the Gators held a 4-1 advantage -- which, as it turned out, was more than enough support for starting pitcher Casey Whitfield.

The junior was in command from the outset, holding Neuse Charter at bay in the box with a variety of pitches. Over three innings, the right-hander never encountered serious issue, allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out a pair.

His effort also sparked confidence in the Gator dugout, which they used at the plate to engineer a volume-producing afternoon.

SC struck again in the second when second baseman Christian Yarbrough pounded a two-RBI triple to right center field. His handy work with the axe would also prop up matters in the third frame, when he torch-lit a Cole Gurley offering to left-center field, plating two more runs and moving the game's needle to redline capacity.

After three innings, Spring Creek managed a 10-2 lead.

The hosts properly finished matters in their half of the fourth when Levi Miller and Jordan Ammons collected a combined three RBI to envoke the mercy rule and extend bus keys to the Cougars, whose last contest was a defeat of North Duplin eight days prior.

Neuse Charter (2-3-1 overall) was led at the plate by Elijah Batts, who finished 1-for-2 with an RBI. Tyler Hammer and Tyler Turecky also collected base knocks for the visitors.

The Gator clinic -- which also featured 13 stolen bases -- was paced by Yarbrough, who went 2-for-3 on the afternoon with four RBI. Also exceptional was the speedy Miller, who finished 3-for-4 with three RBI.

Geelen, Whitfield and Ammons rounded out the assault, going a combined 3-for-7 with four runs batted in.

Whitfield also earned the mound victory.

"It feels good to do some things well, and hopefully get some momentum," skipper Heath Whitfield said of the effort. "And Christian had a big night for us -- swung the bat well."

Now 1-1 in league play, Spring Creek travels to Hobbton this afternoon. Neuse Charter is the guest of Princeton.