On Tuesday night, Kingsmen Baseball traveled to Charlotte to take on the Queen City Corndogs in a battle between familiar foes. Along with the scorching weather, the Kingsmen offense continued their hot stretch as the team put on a hitting clinic.
The first two innings for the Kingsmen each produced a run with Nick Solorzano plating Darrien Whitaker on a sac fly and Jack Davis driving in Blake Bevis with a fielder’s choice groundout. After a strong first inning where he recorded two strikeouts, however, Kingsmen starting pitcher Mikah Conner was hit hard by the Corndogs’ offense in the second.
The inning began with a little help from defense as Whitaker made an incredible leaping catch at the wall in center to rob a potential home run. The Corndogs, though, followed the outstanding defensive play with a walk and three consecutive doubles to tie the game at two.
In the top of the third, the Kingsmen took the lead right back, scoring three in the inning. Following two quick outs to begin the frame, Matthew Gross reached first after a throwing error by the Corndogs’ third baseman. The Kingsmen offense quickly took advantage of the miscue as Solorzano drove in Gross with an RBI double and Colin Patterson plated two runs with a single to left. The Corndogs, however, would get a run back in the bottom half of the inning to make it a 5-3 ballgame heading into the fourth.
The fourth inning would prove to be fruitless for both teams as the Kingsmen made multiple mistakes on the base paths, but saw Conner regain the form he had in the first inning. In the fifth, though, the Kingsmen added two more runs thanks to a Bevis RBI single and a Patterson RBI groundout.
In the bottom half of the inning, Conner worked around a two-out hit and walk to escape the frame without allowing a run. The fifth would close the book on Conner’s night who was exceptional in his five innings of work, allowing just three runs on six hits while striking out six. For the righty, it was an important bounce-back outing after previously struggling with command in his last appearance. The Kingsmen would carry a 7-3 lead into the sixth.
After a quiet top of the sixth for the Kingsmen offense, the Corndogs were able to chip away at the lead and get a run off of reliever Matthew Gross. However, the Kingsmen would take the run back in the seventh after a Whitaker walk, Solorzano single, and a Bevis RBI fielder’s choice.
Gross continued on the mound in the seventh, but allowed two men to reach base with just one away. After recording the second out of the inning, the righty handed the ball to Justin Stewart, who allowed his first batter to reach on a base hit to center. With the bases loaded, Stewart picked up a strikeout to end the inning without allowing a runner to score. Heading into the eighth, the Kingsmen’s 8-4 lead remained intact.
After both teams went down quietly in the eighth, Jack Austin became the latest Kingsmen to leave the yard. The catcher led off the ninth inning with a solo home run that pierced the night sky and landed deep in the left field trees. It was the rising sophomore’s first home run of the year and added a nice cushion to the Kingsmen lead.
The five run lead proved to be plenty for Stewart who would pitch a perfect ninth inning to secure a 9-4 win for the Kingsmen. With their third straight victory, the team moved to 7-4 on the summer. Tomorrow night, Kingsmen Baseball will return home and play host to the Hendersonville Honeycrisps. The game is scheduled to start at 6:30 pm and will be played at York Comprehensive High School.
Stay tuned for more Kingsmen news and updates as the summer continues.
Nick Solorzano Postgame Interview:
Coach Joe Hudak Postgame Interview: