Published: 12:00 AM, Wed Apr 18, 2012
Terry Sanford baseball beats Cape Fear 3-1, earns share of league title
Terry Sanford coach Sam Guy is down to a dozen healthy players as the closing games of the 2012 Mid-South 4-A Conference baseball season approach. But the Bulldogs are looking more mean than lean as they prepare to head into the postseason.
Left-handed pitcher Nathan Arp kept visiting Cape Fear from scoring early after getting runners on base, and the Bulldogs finally found enough offense to outduel the Colts 3-1 on Tuesday.
The victory clinches Terry Sanford a tie for the regular-season conference title with Cape Fear. Even though the Bulldogs own the tiebreaker and would get top seed in the conference tournament, Guy is thinking of nothing but winning it all.
"We've got to play Seventy-First on Friday and Pine Forest on Tuesday,'' Guy said. "We are not letting down. We are playing as if we have to win the next game because the next game is the most important.
"We can't take anybody lightly. We've got to get it done on the field.''
The Bulldogs are 14-6 overall, 10-0 in the league. Cape Fear fell to 10-5-1 and 7-2.
Dounouk steps up
Arp allowed multiple baserunners in three of the first five innings, but managed to hold the Colts to a single run in the fourth. He was playing without starting catcher Zack Dounouk, who broke a bone in his catching hand last week and is expected to be sidelined at least a month. Riley Allen took Dounouk's spot in the lineup for the Bulldogs.
"I knew Riley would get the job done so I didn't change my approach pitching at all,'' Arp said. "I knew our defense behind me would get the job done. I tried to keep my composure.''
Cape Fear pitcher Spencer Faircloth had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning and ended the game with nine strikeouts, but Terry Sanford finally got to him with three hits in the fourth.
"Spencer Faircloth is the real deal,'' Guy said.
Arp felt the Bulldogs were helped against Faircloth by seeing three good left-handed pitchers in an Easter break tournament. "We kept the same approach, started seeing more pitches and started hitting the ball,'' Arp said.
Arp and Austin Warren provided the RBI's to push Terry Sanford ahead 2-1. The Bulldogs got a big insurance run on a gamble by Guy in the sixth.
With two out, Trey Davis beat an infield grounder out at first base. While Cape Fear was making the play on Davis, Guy sent Taylor Warren all the way home from second base. He beat the throw for a 3-1 Bulldog lead.
"That third run was huge,'' Guy said. "I had Taylor stealing and I was hoping to make something happen. You never know. I give a lot of credit to Taylor for never breaking stride.''
"We're still leaving runners stranded,'' said Cape Fear coach Wendell Smith. "We've been able to win doing it, but tonight it caught up with us.
"The top of their lineup is pretty strong. They've got three or four guys in the mid .300s or .400s.''
Scholastic sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3519.
Terry Sanford 3, Cape Fear 1
Faircloth and Johnson; Arp and Allen. W - Arp (6-1). L - Faircloth (4-2)
Leading hitters: CF - Robinson 4-4; Cashwell 2-3. TS - Arp 1-3 (RBI); A. Warren 0-3 (RBI), Davis 1-2 (RBI).
Records: Cape Fear 10-5-1, 7-2; Terry Sanford 14-6, 10-0.