Looking to extend their winning streak to five games, the Kingsmen welcomed the Catawba Valley Stars on a hot and muggy Friday night at York Comprehensive High School. Michael Gracer got the start for the red-hot Kingsmen, but ran into early trouble.
In the first inning, the Kingsmen right-hander allowed a soft lining single to the Stars’ leadoff man who ended up advancing to third base following a pickoff throwing error and a wild pitch. The run would score on a groundout to first. In the second, the Stars plated two more runs following more soft contact and another throwing error committed by the Kingsmen.
Despite having men on in each of the first three innings, the Kingsmen offense wouldn’t break the ice until the fourth. First baseman Blake Bevis led off the inning with a walk and would move to third after stealing second and advancing on a throwing error by the Stars’ catcher. With a man just 90 feet away, Nick George lined a base hit up the middle to cut the Stars’ lead to two. Though the Kingsmen continued to threaten in the inning, they would fail to add more.
Gracer was lifted heading into the fifth inning, but pitched much better than what his final line of four innings, five hits, and three runs indicates. Next for the Kingsmen was Justin Stewart, who followed Gracer’s performance with an excellent one of his own. The reliever fired five perfect innings, retiring every batter he faced while striking out seven. Though the pitchers combined to strike out 10 opposing hitters without walking any––the first time that has happened this season––it was simply not the offense’s day.
Over the final five innings, the Kingsmen were only able to move two men into scoring position and failed to score them. Throughout the game, the offense struggled mightily against the fastball and were struck out 13 times––with five of the final six outs coming via the punch out.
The Kingsmen’s four game winning streak was snapped with the 3-1 loss on Friday night, moving the team’s overall record to 8-5. With the 4th of July early next week, the Kingsmen will be off until Wednesday when they will welcome the Uwharrie Wampus Cats to York Comprehensive High School.
Stay tuned for more Kingsmen Baseball news and updates throughout the summer.
Coach Joe Hudak Postgame Interview: