South vs. North baseball: Three-run fifth pushes Rebels ahead of Rangers in 10-4 win

·4 min read

May 17—It was back and forth for the first four innings between South and North in a Division I sectional final May 17.

While the Rebels saw Jeremiah Atwell send one over the fence in left field for a two-run home run and another two runs in the fourth, the Rangers had a two-run double in the second and runs in the third and fourth to keep the game deadlocked.

But South pitcher Vince Cairns hit the reset button and didn't allow a run in the final three innings while his teammates pushed across six runs for the 10-4 victory. South will next travel to fifth-seeded Green on May 19 for a sectional final contest.

PHOTOS: South-North baseball, May 17, 2022

While Atwell set the tone early with his two-run homer, the Rebels saw five batters drive across runs. With the game knotted at 4-4 in the top of the fifth, Aaron Gillespie drove two runners home to get South the lead back.

Niko Frizell followed suit in the next at-bat and drove Gillespie home. Gillespie started off the top of the seventh with a deep shot to right for a triple for his third hit of the game and was driven home a few batters later.

He went 3-4 from the plate with the go ahead 2 run double in the fifth, Aaron Gillespie shares his thoughts on what worked for all the bats for @WSHSBaseball #NHBaseball pic.twitter.com/FHYXdqgNHK

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) May 18, 2022

"We were really aggressive and tried to get a hold of the fastball as often as possible," Gillespie said. "We tried to find openings in the zone as well and get that first pitch so that we don't fall behind in the count. In the fifth, I was just looking for something to hit. I saw the first curve ball that he threw me and was able to take advantage of the second one to drive in those two."

While the bats were able to get Cairns run support when he needed it, it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Rebels' starter. He allowed Andrew Gunton and Chase Federer to drive runs in early and keep the game in range for the Rangers.

While had a good fifth inning, Cairns saw the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. South coach Brian Pellegrini came out to talk to his pitcher, but had no intention of pulling him out of the game.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, @WSHSBaseball coach Brian Pellegrini went to talk with his pitcher and gave him confidence to finish the inning and get out of the jam #NHBaseball pic.twitter.com/m0vUq1GYVv

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) May 18, 2022

"Vinny has been pounding the zone all year, and when we came out we told him that we were finishing the game with him," Pellegrini said. "He has four or five complete games on the year, and his pitch count was there. It's good to see him go out there and grind out the tough performances and as a junior, it will allow him to be even more prepared for his future."

The pep talk worked for Cairns, as he got the next two batters to pop out and strike out, respectively, to get out of the jam. With the extra run support, Cairns knew he had the option to work more pitches and throw around the zone.

He was able to work out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth, Vince Cairns talks about his performance and being able to work the zone @WSHSBaseball #NHBaseball pic.twitter.com/JnMjnozOGE

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) May 18, 2022

"The energy in the dugout and us being able to get some strong hits was a big help," Cairns said. "I was able to change my mechanics a little bit and make them chase after balls. It really helped my energy and allowed for me to hit some spots that I don't normally go after. It caught the North guys off-balance and made them either chase some of the balls outside of the zone or look at different strikes."

Despite the loss, Logan Metz did all he could to keep the Rangers in the contest as he struck out nine in his five innings of work. Rangers coach Joe Ivelijic was pleased with his senior's performance and highlighted North's four errors compared to South's zero.

It was a strong showing form Logan Metz, and coach Joe Ivelijic talks about the senior keeping @ENRangerBaseBal in the game against South #NHBaseball pic.twitter.com/7oNFMxUJoT

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) May 18, 2022

"Logan's been able to do that for us all season long," Iveljic said. "We were talking about this in the dugout, and when he's on the mound it seems like sometimes we have some lapses in the field and are our own worst enemy. That causes his pitch count to climb and he can't contribute like he wants to in games."