‘McCarthy-ism’ helps Bennetts Creek to win

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Nansemond River High School junior Mike McCarthy batted in two runs and scored another and recorded eight strikeouts as the Bennetts Creek (BC) All-Stars of the Senior Baseball League moved into the league title game with a 5-1 victory over Olive Branch (OB) at John Yeates Middle School on Tuesday evening. After a pitching duel held each team to a single run in the first five innings, the BC offense exploded for four runs in the final two.

McCarthy, who played on the NRHS varsity team last season, smacked a 1-2 pitch into center field to lead off the second inning, and moved to third on a sacrifice fly by Jon Compton. Josh Moore knocked a stand-up double down the left field line, and BC was ahead. But the local All-Stars got into trouble in the bottom of the inning, as Brian Enos reached on an error, stole second, and headed to third on a passed ball. Matt Pearson singled to left field to score Enos, and moved to second on a single by Calvin Askew.

After Pearson stole third, OB had men on first and third with no outs. But McCarthy and Moore picked Askew off first, and John Janin struck out. Brandon Morgan flew out to short, and the inning was over.

Email newsletter signup

On the mound, Pearson held BC hitless for the next three innings. The OB offense knocked four hits off McCarthy and pushed a runner to third base on two occasions, but the BC defense was able to fight them off.

Ryan Richardson broke BC’s hitting drought with a bloop single into left field to lead off the sixth, and moved to second on a passed ball. Eric Berry drew a walk, and Daniel Mathias bunted to the left of the mound to load the bases.

At the plate, McCarthy watched a strike and a ball go past. He then fouled off four consecutive pitches. But the next one was right down the line, and he hit a chopper over third base to score Richardson and Berry. Though OB managed to keep any other runs from scoring, BC now had a 3-1 lead.

&uot;It was do-or-die for me,&uot; McCarthy said of his hit. &uot;I’d played my game from the mound, and now I had a chance to help myself out.&uot;

He recorded his seventh and eighth strikeouts on the way to setting OB down in order in the sixth, and the fired-up BC offense went back to work. With one out, Perry King drew a walk, and pinch-runner Jacob Auvil stole second. A Dustin Hilton single moved Auvil to third, and OB brought in Askew to pitch.

Hilton stole second, but Auvil was picked off. Richardson, however, reached on an error, moving Hilton to third. Richardson stole second, and Berry came to the plate.

He hit a hard grounder that roared over third base, and appeared to be heading into foul territory. But the ball landed on the foul line, and the umpires declared it fair, bringing Hilton and Richardson in to extend the lead to 5-1.

&uot;I was just trying to put the ball in play,&uot; said Berry, who also played on the NRHS varsity team. &uot;I was swinging for the fences; the ball just happened to go down the left field line.&uot;

Janin bunted out to open the seventh, and Auvil made a behind-the-back catch of a Morgan fly ball to get BC to within an out of victory. Troy Capps, however, reached on an error, and moved to second on a blown pickoff attempt. Jacob Gwill singled to center field, and Robert Evans headed to the plate.

Evans hit a fly ball to Sean Davis in center field. Davis first charged forward, then doubled back and jumped backwards with his glove in the air. The ball landed in Davis’ glove, but quickly popped out. Falling backward, Davis managed to trap it with his right hand, and the game was over.

&uot;I thought I’d dropped it,&uot; Davis said. &uot;It looked shallow, but then it went deep, so I started backing up. I just threw my glove up and hoped I’d catch it.&uot;

McCarthy gave a great deal of credit to his defense. &uot;I wanted to strike out the side in the last inning,&uot; he said, &uot;but I had eight other guys on the field, and that’s what won it for me.&uot;

The championship game will be held at Yeates on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Because the tournament is double-elimination, a second title game will be played Saturday should BC not win.