Offense, pitching leads CVCC in doubleheader sweep

Offense, pitching leads CVCC in doubleheader sweep

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The 17th-ranked Catawba Valley Community College baseball team used both powerful offense and stout pitching to earn a conference doubleheader sweep against Patrick Henry Community College on Saturday afternoon at Hooker Field.

With the victories, the Red Hawks improve to 22-11 overall and 9-4 in Region X play.

Game one: No. 17 Catawba Valley 15, Patrick Henry 1 (five innings)

The Red Hawks capitalized on eight hits, eight drawn walks and four Patriot errors to earn the run-rule victory in the opening game of the twin bill on Saturday afternoon.

Second baseman R.J. Conner led the charge for Catawba Valley with his third home run of the season — a grand slam that was part of an eight-run third inning. Conner also scored a team-high three runs in the contest.

CVCC plated at least one run in four of the five innings of the opening contest on Saturday, including one in the first inning and three each in the second and fifth innings.

Catawba Valley shortstop Mason Lyda added two runs scored and three RBI in Saturday's opener, while center fielder Malik Stephens drove in two runs and scored two runs.

On the mound, Red Hawks starting pitcher Blake Dockery allowed just three Patrick Henry hits, one earned run and struck out 10 batters to improve to 4-0 on the season.

Game two: No. 17 Catawba Valley 2, Patrick Henry 0 (seven innings)

Pitcher Logan Bender tossed his third complete game of the season, striking out 12 batters to lead the Red Hawks in their fourth shutout win of the season during the doubleheader finale on Saturday.

Bender allowed just three hits and one walk in his complete game performance, improving to a team-best 5-0 on the season.

Catawba Valley seized a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when third baseman Grant Tilley drove in Tyler Campbell on a single to right field.

That early lead allowed Bender to settle in, and the redshirt sophomore from Dunn, N.C. retired the first six batters on strikeouts, including the first three batters on just 10 pitches.

Bender and Patrick Henry starting pitcher Bradley Hanner both limited their opposing offenses, allowing a combined eight hits and striking out 21 total batters.

Despite being held in check, the Patriots threatened to score and tie the game on several occasions, including placing runners on second and third base in the fourth inning.

A deep fly ball to right field with one out by Patrick Henry catcher Danny Hosley looked to plate the tying run on sac fly in the fourth inning, but CVCC right fielder Vinny Consolo would throw out Patriot pinch runner Sterling Christian on a relay to catcher Willie Gordon at home plate.

After snuffing out another potential rally by Patrick Henry in the fifth inning on a double play,  Consolo would once again come up big — this time at the plate by scoring a late insurance run in the top of the seventh.

Consolo led off the seventh inning by reaching base on a hit by pitch. He advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Mason Lyda and later scored on an error by Patriot first baseman Paul Wise during a ground out by teammate Malik Stephens.

Patrick Henry wouldn't go down quietly in Saturday's finale, though, putting two runners on base with just one out, but Bender was able to force an infield fly out and a swinging strike out to end the game.

The Red Hawks and Patriots finish their three-game conference set with a single nine-inning game on Sunday at Hooker Field. First pitch is set for noon.