Orange Baseball

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


Kahn Riddles Orange Hitters, Ramos, D. DeFranco Lead Cedar Ridge Comeback as Red Wolves Beat Panthers 7-3

For a sophomore, Matthew Kahn has grown up quite quickly.

Two weeks ago in a vital Big 8 Conference game against Northwood, Kahn took over on the mound in the 7th inning for starting pitcher Eric Zehnder with the game tied 2-2. He got the final two outs before Cooper Lamb laced the game-winning hit in the bottom of the inning as the Red Wolves won 3-2, avenging an embarrassing 17-6 loss in the conference opener from three days beforehand.

On Friday night, Kahn’s challenge was even steeper.

He entered Thursday’s game against Orange with the Red Wolves down 3-1 in the bottom of the third with the bases loaded and two out. The night before at OHS, Orange dominated the Red Wolves 8-0 behind a three-hit shutout from senior ace Will White. Another conference loss would have put the Red Wolves conference record to 2-4 and left them in sixth place in the Big 8 going into Easter break.

In other words, their chances for the state playoffs would be iffy, at best.

Yet Kahn was undeterred. He struck out Dayne Watkins to end the inning and Cedar Ridge proceeded to take over the game quickly.

The Red Wolves (5-3, 3-3 in the Big 8) scored the final seven runs of the game to beat Orange 7-3. It was the second year in a row that Cedar Ridge defeated the Panthers at Red Wolves Territory. Kahn earned the win after he surrendered one hit in the final 4-and-a-third innings, walking two and striking out three.

Cedar Ridge shortstop Dante DeFranco started the rally by getting hit by a pitch to leadoff the 4th. After stealing 2nd, DeFranco scored on a wild pitch. Red Wolves left fielder Sailor Ramos looped a single to right field to score Chris Cox. Erik Zehnder gave the Red Wolves the lead with a two-run homer to left field to conclude a 4-run 4th inning.

Ramos came up huge again in the 5th inning, when Cedar Ridge struck for three more runs. Ramos laced a two-out double to left field to score Jake DeFranco and Phillip Berger, both of whom reached on walks.

Orange jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind two runs in the first inning. Shortstop Joey Berini ripped a double off the left field wall, which was followed by a two-run homer by Jason Slaughter, which hugged the third-base fair pole but faded well into the trees. The Panthers loaded the bases with one out after Slaughter’s homer after a single by pitcher Dalton Brown and walked to Caige Clayton and Cooper Porter, but Dante DeFranco started a 6-4-3 double play to get the Red Wolves off the field.

In the third inning, Berini hit a leadoff single to center and moved to second after a pickoff throwing error. Clayton smashed a RBI single down the left field line to give Orange a 3-0 lead.

Orange (6-5, 4-2) is now tied with Northern Durham for third place in the Big 8.

Both Orange and Cedar Ridge will start play in the Hilltop Invitational on Thursday. Orange will host Wake County Home School on Thursday night at 7. Cedar Ridge will host First Colonial, based out of Virginia Beach, VA, on Thursday afternoon at 4:30.

The Will to Win: White Throws 3-Hitter as Orange Shuts Out Cedar Ridge 8-0

For the sixth straight year, the Orange baseball team defended its home field against their crosstown rivals, and they have their senior pitcher to thank for it.

The Panthers defeated Cedar Ridge 8-0 on Wednesday night in front of over 300 fans at Panther Field behind a three-hit shutout from Will  White, who earned his third straight win. White has now thrown 12 consecutive scoreless innings.

Orange pounded out ten hits, including Mark Willms going 2-for-3 with an RBI double. Sophomore shortstop Joey Berini also went 2-for-3 with a double, while first baseman Dalton Brown went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI.

Every player in the Orange lineup got on base. Catcher Caige Clayton, who slugged a two-run homer against East Chapel Hill two weeks ago, had a sacrifice fly RBI.

Cooper Porter, Colin Guentensberger and Cooper Hench also had doubles as Orange remained tied with Chapel Hill for first place in the Big 8 with a 4-1 record.

Cedar Ridge (4-3, 2-3) dropped its second straight. The Red Wolves were held to a season-low in hits and shut out for the first time this season. Cedar Ridge is now in sixth place in the Big 8 with a 2-3 record, which makes Thursday’s rematch with the Panthers all the more urgent.

Phil Berger took the loss for the Red Wolves.

Hillsborough will broadcast the Orange-Cedar Ridge game live starting at 6.

Cedar Ridge & Orange Prepare for Baseball Series with More Than Bragging Rights at Stake

Photo from Dave Lindaman. For more information, go to

Regardless of whether your wear burgundy or orange, there’s a piece of news that everyone can be happy about.

The March snow appears to be officially gone for 2018.

Its much aniticpated departure will lead to temperatures in the 70s, just in time for a crucial two-game baseball series between Orange and Cedar Ridge starting Tuesday at OHS (first pitch at 6).

Last May, Cedar Ridge captured the series finale from its crosstown rivals 6-0. It was the first time the Red Wolves defeated Orange since 2012.

This week, there’s more than bragging rights on the line.

In the new look Big 8 Conference, there are six very good baseball teams and only four guaranteed state playoff spots.

Orange enters the week tied for first in the Big 8 with Northwood, East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill with a 3-1 league record. Cedar Ridge comes in tied with Northern Durham for 5th at 2-2.

The Red Wolves received a tough draw to open conference play. Its first three Big 8 series are against the top teams from the Big 8 from 2017. The Red Wolves split their opening two-game series against defending Big 8 Champion Northwood and runner-up Chapel Hill (who tied with Orange for 2nd). The good news is they close the season with less-seasoned teams Southern Durham and Hillside.

Orange, 5-4 overall after losing to C.B. Aycock 7-2 on Saturday in Wilson, quickly swept Hillside in a doubleheader on Friday by scores of 12-0 and 11-1.

The opening pitching matchup on Tuesday will likely match two hurlers who threw their best games at the end of last season.

Cedar Ridge junior Phil Berger tossed a one-hitter against Orange last year, and that was on an infield single by Jason Slaughter which could have easily been scored an error. The following week, Berger earned the victory in a 4-1 victory over Nash Central in the opening round of the 3A state playoffs. Against the Bulldogs, Berger yielded just three hits, striking out five.

Berger will be opposed by Orange senior Will White, who also took a win in the 3A state playoffs last spring when he held Southern Lee to four hits in a 2-1 win in Sanford. This season, White is 2-1 after wins over Eden Morehead and Hillside, along with a 7-5 loss to East Chapel Hill.

Both teams have plenty of experience from last year. Cedar Ridge has seven starters back from last season. Only Brandon Andrews and Simon Little graduated for the Red Wolves.

Orange has six starters back after losing first baseman Eric Nichols, catcher/pitcher Ryan Puckett and catcher Dylan Hall.

The Red Wolves have power with 1st baseman Chris Cox, who has two homers this season. CRHS’ middle infield tandem of Jake and Dante DeFranco are usually in the top of the batting order and solid contact hitters.

For Orange, leadoff batter Jaydin Poteat has stolen eleven bases this season. Catch Caige Clayton swatted a two-run homer in the 8th inning of a crucial 9-8 win at East Chapel Hill on March 16th.

It’s also the final series for both teams before Easter break, which means both teams are gearing up for the Hilltop Invitational. Orange and Cedar Ridge will host three games over the course of three days starting next Thursday. Cedar Ridge will host First Colonia (of Virginia Beach, Virgnia) on Thursday, April 5th; Wake County HomeSchool on April 6th and Jordan on April 7th.

Orange will welcome Wake County HomeSchool on April 5th; First Colonia on April 6th and Panther Creek on April 7th.

Alumni Update; Davidson Named SEC Rookie of the Week Again; Cates Homers as Lenoir-Rhyne Wins 13th Straight

Mia Davidson: Last week, Davidson was named the SEC Rookie of the Week for the second time this season. Davidson knocked eight hits, six of which went for extra bases, as the Bulldogs earned wins over Boston College, Illinois and UMass Lowell. Davidson is the first Bulldog to be honored with the award twice in a season since pitcher Alexis Silkwood in 2014. Over the weekend, Mississippi State took two of three games in its opening conference series against Missouri in Columbia, MO. In the Bulldogs’ 4-0 victory on Friday, Davidson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. In Sunday’s 6-3 Mississippi State win, Davidson hit her 10th homer of the year in the 3rd inning. In the 4th inning, she drew a bases-loaded walk for her 29th RBI, tied for the team lead.

Brad Debo: For the first time in program history, N.C. State completed a three-game sweep at Clemson over the weekend. N.C. State is now 18-3, 5-1 in the ACC. Former Orange catcher Brad Debo started all three games, drawing two walks in Friday’s 4-0 win over the Tigers. Last Tuesday in an 15-11 win over UNC Asheville, Debo went 2-for-2 with an RBI single.

Mackenzie Cates: The Lenoir-Rhyne softball team went 6-0 last week, running its winning streak to 13. Former Orange catcher Mackenzie Cates hit .347 for the week, including a home run during the second game of a 3-1 doubleheader win over Tusculum in Greensville, Tennessee. In the opening game of the doubleheader against Pioneers, Cates went 2-for-4. On Thursday, the Bears swept a doubleheader from USC-Aiken in Aiken, South Carolina on scores of 9-0 and 5-0. In the opening game of the doubleheader, Cates went 2-for-4 and scored three runs. In the final game, Cates again went 2-for-4. This season, Cates is hitting .351 with seven doubles. She leads the team with five home runs and 21 RBIs.

Stephen Tanner: The former Cedar Ridge Goalkeeper made eight saves while facing 41 shots against Huntingdon in a 5-4 loss in a USA South Athletic Conference (Division III) match in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday. Tanner has started eleven games this season, recording a 6-4 record. He is 5th in the South Atlantic Conference with an 8.21 Goals Against Average and 7th with a 48.9% save percentage. Greensboro is 7-4 on the season.

Brandon Andrews: In his freshman year with Nicholls, Andrews threw two-thirds of an inning in the first game of a doubleheader against Houston Baptist in a 13-4 loss on Saturday. Andrews gave up two hits and an earned run. On Friday, Andrews threw 1 and two-thirds innings of middle relief, giving up one hit and striking out one as the Colonels defeated HBU 5-4.

Rachel Peel: Rachel Peel had a double as Meredith rallied to defeat Averett University 8-7 on Saturday. Peel also started in Sunday’s 4-3 win over Greensboro College.

Bowen Collins: The former Orange High star assisted on a goal as Lenoir-Rhyne defeated Tusculum 14-10 on Saturday. On the season, Collins has played in five games, scoring two goals and two assists. The Bears are now #3 Division II team in the country with an 8-1 record, 2-0 in the South Atlantic Conference. Lenoir-Rhyne has won 18 consecutive South Atlantic Conference regular season games.

Jordan Toney: In UNC Pembroke’s 12-6 win over Winston-Salem State on Friday, Toney threw a shutout inning of relief. The Braves are now ranked #25 in Division II.

Cole Churchill:  A former Cedar Ridge defenseman, Churchill saw action for Randolph-Macon on Saturday as the Yellow Jackets lost to Washington & Lee 12-6.

Orange CF Jaydin Poteat Talks Win over East Chapel Hill

It was another strong all-around game for Orange centerfielder Jaydin Poteat in Friday’s 9-8 extra innings victory over East Chapel Hill. Poteat stole his eleventh base of the season and scored in the first inning. In the fifth with the game tied 2-2, he hit a two-out triple down the left field line, leading to three runs crossing the plate. In the sixth, he threw out the potential game-tying run at the plate from centerfield unassisted. He led off the eighth with a walk, improving his on-base percentage to .440.

Orange C Caige Clayton Talks Two-Run Homer vs. East Chapel Hill

Without Caige Clayton, it’s doubtful the Orange baseball team would have won its first Big 8 Conference game of the year on Friday afternoon. Caige slammed a two-run homer to left field in the eighth inning, scoring the game-winning run as the Panthers defeat the Wildcats 9-8 in eight innings. In the sixth, Clayton gave Orange a 6-2 lead with a double to left field. Clayton had a strong series against the Wildcats, reaching base six times in nine plate appearances.



Orange, Cedar Ride Baseball Drop Big 8 Openers

In what figures to be a deep Big 8 Conference, Orange and Cedar Ridge starting their league campaigns on the wrong foot.

In mid-40 degree temperatures in Pittsboro Wednesday night, defending Big 8 Conference Champion Northwood routed the Red Wolves 19-7.

Things couldn’t have started much better for the Red Wolves. Adam Chunupa led off the game with a solo homer to center field. Cedar Ridge pushed the lead to 2-0 after catcher Connnor Lamb double to center to score Matthew Kahn, who reached on a walk.

From there on, it was total Northwood domination. The Chargers scored seven runs in the second inning, six in the third and six more in the fourth. Northwood (4-2, 1-0 in the Big 8) batted around in three consecutive innings, pounding out 17 hits.

Charger shortstop Michael Posse, a freshman who transferred from Georgia during the summer, hit two doubles in the 2nd inning. He led off the 2nd with a two-bagger, which was followed by a single from Deuce Powell. After Zack Sipe walked to load the bases, David Palermo hit an RBI single to left. Zizzy Newell lined an 0-2 fastball down the left field line to score Powell and Sipe. Second baseman Bryce Davis grounded a seeing-eye single over the middle to bring in Palermo and Newell.

Trailing 13-2 in the fourth, Cedar Ridge did score five runs. Landon Badgeett lined a one-out single to left. After Chnupa reached on a fielder’s choice, Jake DeFranco walked to load the bases. Dante DeFranco followed with a double to the left field fence. Chris Cox followed with a three-run homer to reduce the Northwood lead to 13-7.

Dante DeFranco finished 2-for-2 with two doubles and two RBI. Badger went 2-for-2, while Lamb went 1-for-2 with an RBI.

Cedar Ridge will host Northwood on Friday in Hillsborough.

On Thursday, East Chapel Hill’s Jeb Byerley’s double scored Bryce Jeske and C.J. Di Benedetto in the fifth inning to help East Chapel Hill defeat Orange 7-5 at Panther Field.

Orange (2-3, 0-1 in the Big 8) battled back from a 4-0 deficit to breifly take the lead in the 4th. Collin Guentensberger doubled down the left field line. Jaydin Poateat sent a grounder to shortstop, where Di Benedetto tried to throw out Guentensberger at third, where he was called safe. In the midst of East players arguing the call, Poteat raced over to 2nd. After Joey Berini walked, Jason Slaughter drew a based-loaded walk. After East inserted Brad Rice to pitch, Caige Clayton singled to left field to score Poteat and Berini to give Orange a 5-4 lead, but it didn’t last long.

East’s Ryan McGlinn singled to start the fifth, and Jeske was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt. Di Benedetto walked, leading to Byerley’s two-out double.

Orange starter Will White needed only 15 pitches to get the first five outs, but East scored four runs off five hits in the second inning, all with two outs. Benton Copeland had the game’s first hit on a cue-shot infield single. Rice singled to right to score Copeland. McGlinn followed with a line drive to left to score Harris. Jeske delivered a double to the right center power alley that plated Rice and McGlinn.

East will host Orange to conclude the two-game series on Friday afternoon at 4:30. That game can be heard on