FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville junior Chance Owens took a close game and blew it wide open when he drove in two runners in the fifth inning of the Wolves’ 10-5 victory over Vincent on Thursday night in the first game of a double-header.
“He came in, in clutch situations,” Fayetteville coach Morris Phillips said. “Runners in scoring position and two outs. Backs kind of against the wall, and he came through.”
That wasn’t the first time Owens capitalized on a pivotal at-bat. In the third inning, the junior also drove in two runners despite facing two outs. Owens finished with a game-high four RBIs and two hits on three at-bats.
As good as the junior was, no Wolf was more consistent with a bat in their hands than fellow junior Pacey Deloach. He officially finished the game with three hits, on four at-bats, three RBIs and one score, but there’s reason to believe his stat line should have been even better.
On his final at-bat in the sixth inning, Deloach leaped into the air right past the first baseman, who was in the process of making the catch.
Phillips said both Deloach and the Vincent player said there was no tag, but the umpire ruled Deloach out on a play that truly looked like it could have gone either way from behind home plate.
“I’m real proud of Pacey,” Phillips said. “Pacey has been in a little slump. He hasn’t been hitting it as well as he wants to or his expectations is, but he battled today, and hopefully, he is out of his slump.”
Senior Jacob Vice did what Deloach couldn’t and finished the game with a perfect on-base percentage after four at-bats, two doubles, one walk and once hit by pitch. He also drove in three runs and rounded the bases three times largely since he batted fifth, one spot ahead of Deloach and three spots ahead of Owens.
“I had some guys that stepped up that hadn’t, that (have) kind of been in a little hole,” Phillips said. “Top of our lineup has been producing this year, and this game it was the middle of the lineup.”
Three to know
— Vice seemed to pick up right where he left off in the second game on Thursday which Fayetteville won 6-5 in six innings. Vice drove in two runs in the first inning and later scored on a wild pitch to give the Wolves a 3-0 lead. He added another hit and RBI in the third to increase the lead to 4-0.
— Cayden Roland started the first game on the mound for Fayetteville, and he almost went the distance pitching against 30 of Vincent’s 34 batters. Phillips was surprised the sophomore had that much in the tank, considering he missed a day recently due to illness. Roland finished the game with three total strikeouts and only gave up four of the nine hits he allowed after the first two innings.
— The Wolves defense held up their end in the first game on Thursday, recording two double plays. The first came in the second inning when Owens caught the ball with the bases loaded. The second came in the fifth inning when Deloach hauled in a ball and fired it off to get both outs with two runners already on base. The Wolves later ended the second game on a double play when senior Casen Bryant caught a deep fly and sophomore Brady Butler made the tag at third base.
— Phillips on Vice’s performance in the first game: “He is seeing the ball good tonight because you can tell by how hard he hit it. Those were quality at-bats by the way he made contact, and that is big for him because he’s been making contact. He just hasn’t been making solid contact, what I would call a quality at-bat.”
— Phillips on the upcoming series against B.B. Comer: “It’s going to be huge. It’s going to be the biggest series between us. We always play Comer every year, but we’ve never been in the same area so we’ve never had the intensity that will probably be there this week.”
— Fayetteville travels to B.B. Comer to start the final area series of the season on Tuesday at 4 p.m. If Fayetteville wins two out of three games, the Wolves will win the area. If B.B. Comer wins the first two games then the Tigers will win the area. If B.B. Comer splits the first two matches and then claims the tiebreaker game then the area will likely go down to tiebreakers between Fayetteville, B.B. Comer and Vincent.