Red Devils Nip Patriots
May 3, 2012By Denis Vass of Graham High School
It was not a championship game, but tonight's season finale at Zachary Field between Graham and Providence Grove had the electricity and feel of it.
The Patriots had already wrapped up first place by beating Bartlett Yancey 2-0 Monday night in Yanceyville, but putting the Red Devils away was more dificult than they imagined.
With the win, Graham clinches 2nd place outright thanks to the Patriot's beating the Buccaneers and handing them their fourth loss. Graham beat Providence Grove for the second time this season, both the only two losses they have suffered in league play. The Red Devils improve to 12-10, 9-3, while Providence Grove falls to 17-6, 10-2.
The smallest player, but also the fastest on the team, Maurisio Mendoza, proved to be the biggest when it counted the most. With two outs in the bottom of the 6th and Graham trailling 2-1, Justin Luck smashed a single to center field. For some reason the Patriots elected to let Luck steal second uncontested. On a 1-2 count, Mendoza ripped a triple to the right center-field gap off of reliever Will Hicks, knocking in Luck to tie the game, then motored home on an error by 2nd baseman Caleb Smith, trying to keep Mendoza from reaching third. Mendoza slid in front of the relay, enabling the Red Devils to grab a 3-2 lead, while the players and fans erupted in jubilee.
Prior to the sixth, Providence Grove's Christian Snider had kept Graham's bats silent, allowing only one single by Taylor Perry in the second inning.
Providence Grove didn't go down without putting up a fight. Caleb Smith reached on an error by shortstop Logan Andrews, who should have let centerfielder Dominique Snipes field the fly. Bryson Beck sacrificed him to second. First baseman Taylor Perry recorded the second out on a ball hit to him by Mark Williams, moving Smith to third. Perry went into shallow right field to secure the final out by Jackson Koenig to close the door on the Patriots.
Treston Earley, pitching in his final regular season game at home on Senior Night, pitched another gem against the Patriots, going all seven innings, allowing only 2 runs, none earned, allowing three hits, striking out five, whole walking three. He threw 106 pitches.
Justin Luck and Maurisio Mendoza were both 1-for-3, while Mendoza recoreded one RBI.
Graham will host Cummings on Friday evening to start the Mid-State 2-A Conference tournament. Graham is the #2 seed, while Cummings is the #7 seed. Game time is 6:00. Come on out and cheer for a possible last game at home for the Red Devils!