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Defending champions oust Western Guilford

Defending champions oust Western Guilford

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GREENSBORO — When you’re playing the defending state champions, there is little room for error.

Western Guilford found that out the hard way in a 5-0 loss to East Rutherford in the second game of the Class

2-A Western Regional final.

The Hornets left the bases loaded early in the game and then gave up a home run late, giving the Cavaliers a chance to defend their state title for the third year in a row.

“We’ve got our vision at the end of the tunnel,” East Rutherford coach Bobby Reynolds said. “We’ve done a good job of defending. We’ve met the challenges, and all the credit goes to the kids.”

Most of the credit went to the Cavaliers starting pitcher Garland Jones.

The slim left-hander pitched one of his better games of the season, surrendering only four hits and striking out nine en route to a complete-game shutout.

Reynolds said he and his pitcher talked specifically about being aggressive with Western’s left-handed hitters.

“Every pitch he threw had great movement, even his fastball,” Western coach Chris Causey said. “He really negated them (the left-handed hitters).”

But the Hornets had Jason Rook, their ace, on the mound, and he matched Jones inning for inning. Rook struck out 10 in six innings and kept the Hornets close.

“I knew Rook would keep us in the ballgame, but if we would have gotten him some runs early, it would have been easier on him,” Causey said. “We had some opportunities with runners in scoring position, but we couldn’t get the timely hit.”

Reynolds was impressed with the way Rook handled his batters.

“I thought Rook had us fooled,” Reynolds said. “He had us holding on strikes early in the count and then swinging at balls late in the count.”

But Rook finally made some mistakes, starting with walking the leadoff hitter in the top of the sixth inning.

Rook then left a curveball a little high in the strike zone and UNC signee Chad Flack made him pay by waiting on the ball and hitting it over the fence in right field for a 2-0 lead.

“I told him (before he went up) he was going to hit that,” Jones said.

“With Flack, anytime he comes up he has the potential to go out of the park,” Causey said. “We just wanted to not put guys on in front of him, but that didn’t happen.”

Three batters later, Jeff McCracken followed that with a two-run single, and the Cavaliers had all they would need to advance to the next round.

East Rutherford 5, Western Guilford 0

East Rutherford

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41

5

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Western Guilford

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4

1

W: Garland Jones (9-0). L: Jason Rook (8-3). Leaders: East Rutherford — Chad Flack 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs; Jeff McCracken 1-for-3, 2 RBIs; Garland Jones 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Western Guilford — Steven Gleiter 1-for-2; Lawrence McMorrow 1-for-3; Jason Rook 1-for-3; Jeremy Kochel 1-for-3.

Records: East Rutherford 30-2. Western Guilford 20-10.

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