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The Greenfield School varsity baseball team welcomed in the defending North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A state champion, Kerr-Vance Academy, on Thursday afternoon hoping to find out how good it was early on in the season.
The Knights (1-3), a 1-A member of the split 1-A/2-A Coastal Plain Independents Conference lost 5-1 for their closest loss of the season. Head coach Daniel Johnson was pleased with what he saw on the Nixon Field diamond at Barton College.
“We pitched with them, played defense with them, but we just struggled putting the ball in play against that first guy,” Johnson said.
The first guy Johnson referred to was senior starting pitcher Cam Murphy, who faced 16 batters and struck out 13. Murphy was the winning pitcher after pitching five innings and giving up no hits, two walks and no runs. The only player to put a ball in play against Murphy was sophomore Justin Holland. Murphy also was the leadoff batter for the Spartans (3-1) of the Coastal Conference and was 2 for 3 with a triple, a double, a walk and two stolen bases — including a delayed steal of home plate for one of his three runs scored.
“That was a top level pitcher,” Johnson said.
Greenfield sophomore starting pitcher Nathan Woodard held his own against Murphy despite taking the loss. Woodard pitched five innings, giving up three hits, three runs, two earned runs, five walks and striking out nine. Freshman Dane Reynolds came in to close it out and allowed two unearned runs score while giving up a hit, two walks and notching three strikeouts.
“Nathan and Dane threw outstanding,” Johnson said. “We can pitch as well as anybody.”
When senior Matt Overton came in to close the game for Kerr-Vance, Greenfield was able to put more balls in play, and in the seventh innining, broke up the no-hitter with a one-out double from senior Patrick Smith. Senior Luke Flaherty plated Smith with a fielder’s choice, ending the shutout.
“I was extremely happy with (scoring that run), they didn’t fold, they didn’t quit and we were one batter away from bringing the tying run to plate,” Johnson said. “We made the first two weeks tough this year to see where we stood. It challenged us and we came out 1-3, but I think we’re better for it.”
The Knights open conference play Tuesday, hosting Greenville Pope John Paul II.
Score by innings:
Kerr Vance 101 010 2 — 5
Greenfield 000 000 1 — 1
WP-Cam Murphy 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 13 SO. LP-Nathan Woodard 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 9 SO. S- Matt Overton 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Greenfield: Patrick Smith 1-3, 2B, R; Luke Flaherty 0-3, RBI. Kerr Vance: Cam Murphy 2-3, 3B, 2B, BB, 2 SB, 3 R.