Red Hawks sweep Saturday twin bill with Patriots

Red Hawks sweep Saturday twin bill with Patriots

HICKORY, N.C. — The 14th-ranked Catawba Valley Community College baseball team swept a Saturday conference doubleheader with visiting Patrick Henry Community College at Henkel-Alley Field at the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds.

With the two victories, the Red Hawks improve to 36-13 overall on the season and 15-6 in Region X play.

Game one: No. 14 Catawba Valley 5, Patrick Henry 1

Behind a dominant pitching performance from Julian Smith in the final home start of his CVCC career, the Red Hawks defeated the Patriots by four runs in the series opener.

Smith allowed just three hits and walked two batters during his seven-inning appearance. He also struck out seven batters, recording his seventh win of the spring, which is tied for the second-most victories on the mound for any CVCC pitcher in a single season.

Catcher Brett Macchia and shortstop Garrison Burress led the charge for the Red Hawks offensively, driving in two RBI apiece, and center fielder Cory Watt scored three runs and stole four bases.

Burress' RBI single in the bottom of the first inning scored Watt to open the game's scoring, and Macchia added a two-RBI double down the right field line in the second inning to make it a 3-0 lead for Catawba Valley.

An RBI double by Burress in the bottom of the fifth inning scored Watt for the second time in the game, and second baseman Jimmy Marcelli capped the Red Hawks' scoring in the contest with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning that scored Watt for a third time.

Patriots designated hitter Josh Nellis broke up a potential shut out for the Red Hawks with a two-out solo home run in the top of the ninth inning, but CVCC relief pitcher Timothy Davila was able to notch a strikeout with two runners on base to seal his team's win.

Game two: No. 14 Catawba Valley 16, Patrick Henry 6 (six innings)

Rallying from a 5-1 deficit through three complete innings, the Red Hawks run-ruled the Patriots in the second game of the twin bill on Saturday.

Jimmy Marcelli and Garrison Burress led the offensive charge for Catawba Valley. Marcelli tallied two hits and four RBI, while Burress went 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI.

For the second-straight game, Burress scored teammate Cory Watt on a single in the bottom of the first inning to open the scoring.

Patrick Henry responded in the top of the third inning, gaining its first lead of the day with a grand slam off the bat of Josh Brammell. The Patriots added an RBI single by Garrett Jones to give them a 5-1 advantage.

Surging back into the lead, CVCC scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, including a two-RBI single by Burress, a pair of RBI singles by Tyler Campbell and Willie Gordon and an RBI sac fly by Cody Payne, to go ahead 7-5.

An RBI fielder's choice by Peter Brown in the top of the fifth inning cut Patrick Henry's deficit to 7-6, but CVCC added four runs to its lead in the bottom half of the inning, including a pair of two-RBI doubles by Watt and Marcelli.

The Red Hawks capped their mercy rule win with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, including an RBI single by Gordon, an RBI fielder's choice by Payne and a second two-run double in the game for Marcelli.

On the mound, CVCC starting pitcher Harry Hatcher allowed four hits, two earned runs, three walks and struck out four batters in his final home appearance for the Red Hawks.

Trae Starnes relieved Hatcher in the fourth inning, and Starnes allowed three hits, one earned run, one walk and struck out two batters to earn his fifth win of the season.

The Red Hawks and Patriots finish their three-game set on Sunday with a single nine-inning game starting at noon. Following the game, the CVCC baseball program will honor its 17 graduating players on "Sophomore Day."