RALEIGH — Broughton coach Harry Jones compared the Caps’ 8-5 win at Athens Drive Wednesday to a seven-round prize fight.
The Caps trailed by a run entering the fifth inning before sending nine batters to the plate in a five-run outing to take a comfortable 5-1 lead over the Jags. Athens quickly responded with three runs in the bottom half before Broughton senior Eric Collins sent a three-run home run over the right field wall with two outs in the top of the sixth, securing the Caps win.
“We were able to avoid the knock out in that inning and then we got back off the mat and came back,” Jones said. “That’s good, we want to be able to do that because it’s a game that’s played with adversity and we need to be able to to get back off the mat, but we don’t want to dig ourselves holes.”
The win was the third in four games for the Caps (4-2), while Athens Drive dropped to 0-5 on the year.
“We’re trying to get some things figured out,” Athens Drive coach Ryan Westbrook said. “Initally in the first four games, we haven’t been playing great defense, and I thought that was going to be our strong point. ... Today, it was – we kind of had some innings where the pitching didn’t work out as well as we thought it would, and we walked some guys, and when you walk guys, you’re going to get in trouble.”
Down 2-1, Athens Drive reliever Coby Weston entered the game for starter Louis Card with no outs and two Caps on base in the top of the fifth. Next up to bat, Collins reached base on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Ben Eller’s sacrifice fly to right field, Jackson Williams’ fielder’s choice and Jake Baize’s double would bring in runners before the Jags secured the third out.
Before the pitching change, Broughton junior Dom Ford, who reached base on a walk and advanced to second on a stolen base, scored the first Caps run on a single by Ben Sawyer. Senior Rob Case’s double brought Sawyer in for the score.
Athens Drive got back in the game when center fielder Justin Christian led off the inning with a walk and second baseman Daniel Dyson followed after being hit by a Thomas Walden pitch, prompting Jones to send in Feeny to take the mound.
Feeny retired two batters before Mark Stallings reached on a hit and all three runners were brought in by Justin Voltz and Branson Burgess RBIs.
“I really liked the way we responded. I liked the way we fought. They came in and they were confident, which was good and we ended up getting back within a run,” Westbrook said. “We’ve been in a few (games). It just seems like every game, it’s one inning. ... We’ve made mistakes, but on top of the mistakes, we can’t get breaks.”
The Jags walked nine Caps batters in the contest. Weston walked Broughton’s Jared Feeny and Rob Case with two outs in the top of the sixth, setting the stage for Collins’ three-run homer.
The home run was the third for the Caps in two games as both teams prepare to begin conference play.
“We’re hitting the ball with more pop than was expected,” Jones said. “We need to be a little more consistent, but that extra offense has been big for us. We have a certain approach that we want to take to the game. We want to throw strikes and play good defense. And when we do that, we’re not bad. When we don’t, it’s an adventure, and that’s kind of what happened today.”