BUNN — Knightdale claimed an 8-1 win over Bunn in the last game of the season for both Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League teams on Thursday.
The Wildcats were able to keep the Knights at bay for four innings, but with the game tied at 1-1 Knightdale scored seven runs in the fifth to put the pesky Wildcats away.
“With this being the last game, I thought we saw a great improvement over the entire summer,” Knightdale summer coach Will Patterson said. “Things were not easy for this group, but they were able to come together offensively and defensively to pull this one out.”
While Jonathan Sierra likely won’t be a starter during the spring, he allowed just one run on three hits through five innings and earned the win. Sierra also finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate with a run.
Sierra, who’s never pitched before at the high school level, is normally the Knights’ centerfielder and knew he needed to help his team with multiple players out of the lineup.
“I felt pretty good and I had a good defense behind me,” he said, despite a rising eighth grader falling in center and dropping a ball that normally would have been a routine snag for Sierra. “I was fighting 100 percent out there. Sometimes the count was 3-0 and I just tried to relax and find the strike zone and that seemed to work out.”
A leadoff double by Garrett Wall in the second inning got things started, which was followed up by a RBI single by Geradiel Hernandez. After Alex Wetzel singled and Randall Ray walked on to load the bases, both Dallas Savage and Sierra were unable to add to the lead as Knightdale plated just one run in the second.
In the third inning, Francis Silvestre drew a walk and Grant Peters doubled to put two more runners in scoring position for the Knights, but they were unable to capitalize yet again.
Bunn’s Spencer Brickhouse scored Austin Medlin, who ran for Cameron Wright after Wright hit a leadoff double, for the lone run of the game for the Wildcats.
Despite having little production on offense, Bunn coach Leonard Allen was happy with his team’s fight.
“This team was really young this year, so we knew we weren’t going to win a lot of games,” he said. “We’ve competed all year, but they always seem to end up giving up one bad inning that leads to the loss.”
That one bad inning happened for Bunn in the top of the fifth, starting with Sierra scoring on an error that allowed Silvestre to advance to second. Wall drew a walk to load the bases for Grant Peters, who doubled to right field to score Kyle Spear and Silvestre.
Hernandez then singled to score Wall, Peters advanced home on an errant pickoff attempt and Hernandez scored on a Randall Ray single. Ray stole second and third before coming home to score the seventh and final run of the inning.
“That inning was probably one of the best innings of the summer for us because we got a lot of young guys to play crucial roles in scoring runs for us,” Patterson said. “Anytime you get a big inning like that, you pretty much take the wind out of the sails for the other team.”
Smith: 919-829-4841; @RCorySmith