On a blustery night when fans showed up wearing sweatshirts and blankets to bear the cold weather, the Cedar Ridge bats got hot at the right time.

Going into the seventh inning trailing 4-1, the Red Wolves stunned Person with four runs in its final at-bat to beat the Rockets 5-4 on Tuesday night in Hillsborough. Sophomore Ian McGuffey laced the game-winning hit to the right field gap to score Caden Thompson, sending the jubilant Cedar Ridge reserves pouring out of the dugout for an on-field celebration.

Going into the last of the seventh, the Red Wolves trailed 4-1 and had only one hit. Junior Quinn Finnegan served notice that something special was on tap in the 7th when he drilled the first pitch from Dylan England over the left field power alley wall, which takes extra power because Red Wolves Stadium in probably the largest in the Central Conference. It was Finnegan’s second home run in as many games.

England retired Kevin Jones for the first out, but Landon Dalehite drew a walk. Grant McGuffey got hit by a pitch, which led to David Schoof got drilled on the front leg by a fastball to load the bases, which led to Person coach Kyle Boyette choosing Brennen Kiser to replace England on the mound. Thompson replaced Schoof as a courtesy runner as Nick Aitkin stepped up to the plate.

Facing a 1-1 count, Aitkin turned on a fastball and sprayed it down the left field line. Dalehite and McGuffey scored to tie the game, sending Dalehite jumping up and down behind home plate as McGuffey rounded the bases. With Mason Cates at the plate, Kiser was called for a balk, advancing Thompson to third.

Cates was then intentionally walked, which brought up McGuffey. On a 1-1 pitch, McGuffey skied a fly ball that landed just shy of the fence in right centerfield. Thompson nearly bumped into several fired up reserves who rushed the field as he jumped up and down to plate the game-winning run.

It was the first loss of the season for the Rockets (5-1, 2-1 in the Central Conference), who swept a two-game set from Western Alamance to open the league slate last week.

Cedar Ridge (3-3, 2-1) started the game on a promising note. Freshman John Grove drew a walk with two-out against Person starter Keeghan Holmes. With Finnegan at bat, Grove stole second, then advanced to third off a throwing error. Finnegan was hit by a pitch. That led to the Red Wolves scoring off a double steal when Finnegan attempted to steal second, allowing Grove to race for home and cross the plate before Finnegan was tagged out by first baseman Casey Oakes.

Person tied the game in the top of the second with a double from Brady Holmes to score Holmes.

England replaced Holmes on the mound in the second inning and largely shut down Cedar Ridge’s offense. In his first four innings of work, he allowed only a single by Schoof in the fifth inning. Even that was canceled out when Aitkin grounded into a double play turned by second baseman Brady Holmes.

Person vaulted ahead 4-1 behind a three-run fourth inning. Brady and Keegan Holmes each drew a walk to lead off the inning against Cates, who started for the Red Wolves. After Camden Shaw laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Holmes and Holmes over, Nick Young reached on an error when he lined to first, scoring two runs. England then singled to centerfield, scoring Young.

Ian McGuffey’s walk off single led to him earning his win on the mound. He threw two innings of shutout baseball, striking out four. Cates threw five innings with five strikeouts and seven walks.

Cedar Ridge will host Seaforth on Wednesday night (tonight) in Hillsborough.



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