Baseball Falls in SAC Final to Wingate


FOREST CITY, NC -- Wingate claimed the 2011 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament Championship with a 7-1 victory over 13th-ranked Catawba on Saturday afternoon at McNair Field.  Tournament Most Valuable Player Chris Nelson allowed one hit over five innings to earn the victory, and Dodson McPherson hit a three-run home run in the third to break a 1-1 tie as the second-seeded Bulldogs (34-20) earned their first SAC tournament crown since 1998 and fifth overall.  Catawba, which had claimed the last two tournament titles, falls to 39-10.

Nelson finished 2-0 with a 0.69 earned run average in the tournament for the Bulldogs, allowing just five hits and one earned run while striking out seven in 13 innings of work.  The lefty improved to 6-3 overall this season with the victory.
Chris Vazquez led a 12-hit attack by the Bulldogs with three hits, all doubles, while Cale Rogers, McPherson and James Tedder each had a pair of hits.  Meanwhile, Nelson and three relievers combined to hold the Indians to just four hits in the game.
Catawba, which entered the day needing to defeat Wingate twice in order to win the championship, got off to a good start with a run in the second inning.  Brett Underwood (Greensboro, NC/SW Guilford HS) was hit by a pitch with one out and moved all the way to third on a sacrifice by Blake Houston (Mt. Ulla, NC/S. Rowan HS).  Julio Zubillaga (China Grove, NC/Carson HS) then hit a grounder that was misplayed for an error, allowing Underwood to score with the game's first run.
After being blanked in each of the first two innings by Catawba starter Joe Kase (Palm Harbor, FL/Tarpon Springs HS/S. Florida CC), Wingate started what proved to be the decisive rally in the third with one out. Taylor Honeycutt flared a single down the right field line with one out, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Rogers.  After a double to left by Vazquez put runners on second and third, McPherson clubbed a 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall for a 4-1 Bulldog lead.
The Bulldogs tacked on single runs in the fourth, eighth and ninth frames for insurance.  Tedder singled home the run in the fourth, Casey Allison singled home a run in the eighth and Rogers doubled home the final run in the ninth.

2011 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball All-Tournament Team
Chris Nelson, Wingate (Most Valuable Player)
Brian Yeung, Wingate
Justin Somers, Wingate
Jacob Karr, Wingate
Cameron Falcon, Wingate
Dodson McPherson, Wingate
Austin Moyer, Catawba
JJ Jankowski, Catawba
Josh Hohn, Catawba
Chris Dula, Catawba
Mario Rojas, Newberry
Tyler Sturkie, Newberry
Juan Alvarez, Lincoln Memorial
Steven Starbird, Lincoln Memorial
Sean Cotten, Tusculum

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