While the Cedar Ridge baseball team took a sojourn from Central Conference play during spring break, they suddenly went from being in second place to vaulting up to first.

As they return to standard life this week, it is suddenly game on in a wide open league race for the championship.

The Red Wolves took its blend of experience and youth to the Pitt County Easter Tournament at Farmville Central High School last week and got the best of both worlds in the opening game of a doubleheader against Southwest Edgecombe.

Despite a dry start offensively, Red Wolves senior pitcher Joel Davis and sophomore Aidan Ryan  held the Cougars without a hit in the final three innings as Cedar Ridge put up four runs in the fifth inning to win 5-2.

Davis earned his second win in as many weeks, striking out seven over five-and-two-thirds innings. He limited the Cougars to four hits as Cedar Ridge improved to 6-4.

Cedar Ridge went into spring break trailing Southern Alamance by one game for first place in the Central Conference. Person, who Cedar Ridge swept in a two-game series the week prior, bounced back to sweep the Patriots last week, including a 2-1 pitcher’s dual in Roxboro where the Rockets won despite registering just two hits.

The Red Wolves are now atop the Central Conference with a 3-1 league mark with a two-game series against crosstown rival Orange starting on Tuesday at Red Wolves Field. Cedar Ridge is scheduled to travel to Orange on Friday. Orange is 1-1 in league play.

The Cougars put runners in motion to jump ahead in the first inning. After leadoff batter Trent Nichols drew a walk, he stole second and third base. Right fielder Logan Webb knocked in Nichols after a Red Wolf error. After Red Wolf first baseman Mason Cates retired Parker Gay with a groundout, Webb advanced to second, then stole third. Tyler Mears hit a sacrifice fly to Quinn Finnegan to score Mears.

Cedar Ridge struggled offensively in the early going. While they did draw five walks in the opening four innings against Gay and Blayde Hinton, who came on in the second inning on the mound, the Red Wolves failed to get a hit.

Despite early hiccups, Davis contained the Cougars to just four hits over the next four innings. Cedar Ridge broke through in the fifth when sophomore Nick Aitkin drew a leadoff walk. Cates drilled a double down the left field line. Ian McGuffey sent a bouncing ball to Gay at third base, who threw it wide of first base, allowing Aitkin to score. Freshman John Grove sent an RBI single to left field to bring in Cates and tie the game. With one out, designated hitter Kevin Jones lined a single to left field to score McGuffey and Grove.

After Tyson Ayers drew a two-out walk in the sixth inning, Ryan replaced Davis on the mound and induced a pop-up from Hinton to escape the inning with Cedar Ridge maintaining a 4-2 lead.

McGuffey stroked a double to start the seventh inning. Grove sent a bouncing ball to Turner Cooke at second, allowing McGuffey to advance to third. Finnegan sent a sacrifice fly to right field to score McGuffey and extend the Red Wolf lead.

Ryan earned his first career save when Gay lined out to second baseman Grant McGuffey, who easily doubled up Logan Webb at first.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Farmville Central jumped out to a 5-1 lead and wound up winning 6-2. It ended Cedar Ridge’s four-game winning streak. Grove finished 2-for-4, including an RBI single in the third inning. Finnegan scored the opening run after a double steal from senior Landon Dalehite.

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