Schedule Adjusted for Hilltop Invitational; Cedar Ridge, Orange Each Play Doubleheaders Thursday
It didn’t take Crash Davis to bust into a ballpark in the wee hours of the morning to create a rainout for the Hilltop Invitational’s planned tripleheader at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Saturday.
All that was needed was the latest forecast for rain—and more snow.
Originally, Orange and Cedar Ridge were supposed to conclude the Hilltop Invitational on Saturday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the famed home of the Durham Bulls during its days as the Carolina League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves from 1980-1996. Those plans changed on Tuesday night when forecasts of wet snowflakes began circulating locally with predicted lows below freezing.
Instead of a three-day event, the annual Hilltop Invitational will be two days at Orange, Cedar Ridge, East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill High Schools.
On Thursday at Orange High School, Panther Creek will face Orange at 1 to start a tripleheader. East Chapel Hill meets Panther Creek in the sandwich game at 4. Orange faces Wake County HomeSchools in the nightcap at 7.
Chapel Hill will host the other tripleheader on Thursday. Starting at 1, Cedar Ridge faces Jordan. The Red Wolves turn right back around to face First Colonial (out of Virginia Beach, Virginia) at 4. Jordan takes on Chapel Hill in the nightcap at 7.
On Friday, play continues at three separate locations. Cedar Ridge, East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill all host doubleheaders.
At Cedar Ridge, Orange hosts First Colonial at 1. Wake County Homeschools faces Cedar Ridge at 5.
At East Chapel Hill, the Wildcats will play both ends of a twinbill: they face Wake County at 1, followed by Jordan.
At Chapel Hill, the Tigers will also play two consecutive games. They host First Colonial at 5, followed by a game with Panther Creek at 7.
Unlike other Easter tournaments around the state, the Hilltop doesn’t follow a standard knockout tournament format. It’s simply a way for teams to get three nonconference games in during the crunch of conference season.
But these are not inconsequential games for Orange and Cedar Ridge. After the two crosstown rivals split their series last week, Orange is 6-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big 8 Conference, tied for 3rd with Northern Durham. After playing three games in two days in the Hilltop, Orange faces defending Big 8 Champion Northwood in a two-game set next week, starting with a home game on Tuesday.
Cedar Ridge, after beating Orange 7-3 on Thursday, is 5-3 overall, 3-3 in the Big 8. The Red Wolves are tied with Northwood for 5th in the Big 8. The good news for Cedar Ridge is the most intense part of its conference schedule is over, having faced the top three teams from the Big 8 from 2017 last month.
Cedar Ridge returns to Big 8 play against Northern Durham on Tuesday at Red Wolves Territory. It’s the first time ever that the Red Wolves and the Knights have meet on the baseball diamond as conference rivals.
First Colonial comes into the Hilltop Invitational with a 3-1 mark. Wake County HomeSchools is 10-4 and already has wins over Lee County and New Bern. They lost to J.H. Rose 7-2 last week.
Panther Creek, from the 4-A Triangle 6 Conference that is essentially the remains of the old PAC-6 Conference, is 4-6. After dropping three of its previous four games, the Catamounts defeted Sanderson 9-4 last week for its first conference win of the season.
We’ll be broadcasting Orange’s doubleheader on Thursday live here on HillsboroughSports.com.