The huge early season matchup lived up to expectations as Pinecrest defeated #4 Forsyth Country Day 5-4. Pinecrest led throughout the game, bringing their lead to 4-1 after six innings before FCDS scored three runs in the top of the 7th to tie the game. In the bottom of the 7th, Pinecrest loaded the bases with one out before a Patrick Moore RBI single gave the Patriots a walk-off win.
Nearly 800 fans and 40 scouts attended the game featuring top 2011 pitching prospects Dillon Maples (Pinecrest) and Adam Griffin (FCDS). The two hurlers did not disappoint by rolling through their first two innings of work. After Maples threw a scoreless top half of the third, Pinecrest got on the scoreboard first as Joey Vecchione connected on a Griffin fastball, driving it over the right field wall to put Pinecrest up 2-0. FCDS RF George Carter answered back with an opposite field home run of his own in the top half of the 4th, driving a 93 mph fastball over the left-center field wall to pull FCDS within a run.
Pinecrest added single runs in the 4th, on an Evan Guy RBI double, and in the 6th when Moore scored on a passed ball, to make the score 4-1. FCDS fought back to tie the game in the top of the 7th against three different Pinecrest pitchers. CF Seth Constable doubled home two runs following a walk and an error to make it 4-3. SS DC Arendas hit a line drive off reliever Evan Guy’s leg to move Constable to third and he tied the game on an Adam Griffin sacrifice fly.
RHP Tyler Alberts took the mound for FCDS in the 7th and allowed a leadoff single to Austin Embler. He was sacrificed to second by his brother Cameron, before two walks loaded the bases. After a strikeout, Moore stepped to the plate and lined an RBI single up the middle, giving Pinecrest a 5-4 win.
RHP Joey Vecchione picked up the win by getting the final two outs in the top of the 7th; he showed good actions earlier in the game at SS in addition to his home run. Maples was as advertised throwing 3 2/3 innings, walking two, striking out 7, and only one hit, Carter’s homerun. His velocity was sat 91-95, hitting 95 several times, but struggled a bit with his curveball and fastball command, leading to 60 pitches in 3 2/3 innings. It was an outstanding outing to open the season against one of the top lineups in the country.
Griffin worked 89-94 with his fastball, allowing three runs, one earned on three hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two showing good command of his fastball and curve ball. RHP Brandon Culbreth threw 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing one run while striking out three and walking two. He worked 87-90 with his fastball, showing a very good curveball, but struggled a bit with his command.
Pinecrest gets back into action Friday night @ Riverside HS before taking on Asheboro and Southern Lee next week. Forsyth takes on TC Roberson Saturday and Cannon School next Thursday before taking on Rocky Mount in a much anticipated match up in the Impact Invitational at Durham Athletic Park. Rocky Mount is expected to throw RHP Benton Moss, ranked just behind Maples as the 2nd pitcher in the state, as well as 76th nationally.
Forsyth Country Day, #4 in the preseason PG National Rankings, will open their season Wednesday against the #1 ranked pitcher in the state of North Carolina, Pinecrest RHP Dillon Maples.
Forsyth, featuring one of the more prospect laden rosters in the nation, looks to be the favorite in the state and is also on the short list of very early National Title contenders. The Furies will counter with their own highly ranked pitching duo of RHP Adam Griffin and RHP Brandon Culbreth.
Each threw in a scrimmage Saturday and are ready for their 2011 season to start.
Griffin, a North Carolina commit currently ranked 107th nationally, features a fastball that has reached 93 mph. He compliments it with a 10/4 curveball at 73 mph, and a changeup with solid tail. He also doubles as a power hitting outfielder, and has posted a 6.86 60-yard dash time.
Culbreth, a North Carolina State commit ranked 30th in the state, is another power arm for head Coach Andy Partin. He has run his fastball up to 91 with life and also throws a late breaking curveball that is a very good secondary offering. Culbreth is also a strong hitter with good bat speed and some pop.
“They just have to attack the zone and try to get soft contact early in the count,” says Partin when asked about the keys for his two pitchers. “Both of them have pitched on big stages before. I think they’re competitiveness is fueled with the idea of being the underdog to Maples.”
Most pitchers are underdogs when they go into a game against Maples. As a junior, in 2010, he went 8-2 with a 0.95 ERA, striking out 117, while walking just 28 in 59 innings. Ranked 25th nationally, the North Carolina commit has one of the best arms in the nation. His fastball has been clocked at up to 95 mph, with a quick arm and smooth delivery. He has a 6’3, 195 pound, projectable body and has one of the best off-speed pitches in the class; a sharp breaking 82 mph curveball.
Partin knows it will be a big challenge for his offense to face Maples, but it won’t change their approach. “Our guys will walk to the plate every at-bat with confidence and try to hit the ball hard and help our team win. We’re lucky to have arms with pretty good velocity too, and we’ve been facing each other for weeks in live situations.”
Runs look like they will be at a premium Wednesday, but both offenses have the talent to put big numbers on the board throughout the season. Maples is a strong hitter and 3B when not on the mound, and SS Bailey Rush, an all conference selection and Citadel commit, look to pace the offense.
Forsyth's lineup is full of talent. In addition to Griffin and Culbreath, they feature CF Seth Constable (South Carolina commit), 1B/LHP George Carter (UNC commit), and 2B DC Arendas (South Carolina commit).
Pinecrest coach Jeff Hewitt enters his 12th season at the school, which won the 1979 North Carolina AAAA title. He has one of the most talented teams in school history this year, as they debuted at #2 in 4A Impact Baseball poll.
Partin says his team will be ready. ”We’re excited about the challenge. You are looking at two very good arms, and two very talented teams hooking up. This is the type of atmosphere our guys want to play in.”
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