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Team Realtree Takes Fall World Series Opener, 14-10

In true "Money Ball" fashion, sophomore infielder Bradley Strong had a solid outing, reaching five times with three hits and a pair of walks.

Oct. 25, 2012

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Cullowhee, N.C. - Junior Adam Martin ignited a four-run seventh inning rally on Wednesday evening with a solo home run as Team Realtree took game one of Western Carolina's Catamount Camo Fall World Series with a 14-10 victory at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.

Tied at 10 going into the bottom of the seventh, Martin blasted a solo shot over the fence in left field that put his squad ahead for good in the seesaw battle. Team Realtree did not just sit on the one-run lead, however, as the Strong brothers - Reece and Bradley - added a pair of run-scoring doubles. Reece, a true freshman, doubled down the right field line to plate two runs with older brother Bradley doubling to right field to provide the final tally.

Game two of the three-game, fall-ending series is scheduled for Friday afternoon with a 4:15 pm first pitch. The second game has a very intriguing projected pitching match-up as weekend starters Jordan Smith (Team Digital) faces off against Jeremy Null (Team Realtree).

Redshirt freshman left-hander Bryce Danielson picked up the win out of the bullpen, tossing two innings in relief and surrendering two runs on two hits, both coming in the sixth inning. Senior Preston Hatcher struck out the side in the ninth of the non-save situation, allowing one hit - a double by Julian Ridings. Freshman left-hander Alex Barr earned the series-opening start for Team Realtree, but was pulled after early control issues with senior Jon Nadale coming on and finishing the first as a part of four-plus innings of work.

Sophomore crafty lefty William Frazier was saddled with the loss, likewise tossing two middle innings in relief, surrendering the round-tripper to Martin. Junior college transfer John McClure was the starter for Team Digital.

Team Digital got on the board after two early Barr walks as Dale Urquhart Jr., doubled down the left field line, driving in two with two outs. Four-straight walks drove in two additional runs with Team Digital leading 4-0 after half a frame.

In the bottom of the first, Team Realtree answered as redshirt freshman Austin Neary was plunked on an 0-2 count by McClure. Neary swiped second base and later scored on a throwing error while stealing third making it 4-1 through one inning.

Team Realtree was able to tie the game in the home half of the second inning, scoring three runs despite two quick outs in the frame. Senior Bryant Noteboom scorched a ball to third, reaching on an error to start the rally. Reece Strong put runners on the corner by also reaching on a fielding miscue to put two aboard with Bradley Strong and Cody Jones delivering RBI hits to make it 4-4 through two innings.

Half an inning later, Team Digital responded as Luke Gragg doubled down the left field line with Ridings and senior Tyler White both delivering RBI hits for a 6-4 lead. They extended the lead in the fourth as freshman J.D. Long reached on a single through the left side and moved around the bases by a single by Gragg. With two aboard, junior Aaron Attaway doubled to left, plating both runs and an 8-4 lead.

After the rally, Team Realtree got two of the runs back in the bottom of the fourth as Neary doubled to score Bradley Strong and Jones. The designated home team would take its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring three runs off of freshman hurler Jonathan Waszack. Using a Noteboom single and walks to both Strong brothers, Jones drew a bases loaded walk to plate the first run. A costly throwing error allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score, with Team Realtree leading 9-8 through five innings.

Nadale worked a perfect top of the fifth inning on the mound for Team Realtree, retiring the side on just eight pitches.

The digital camouflaged-wearing squad was able to answer in the top of the sixth, though, as Ridings belted a RBI triple to right center and was later driven home by an RBI groundout by White, resurging back in front for a 10-9 lead.

Team Realtree rallied to again tie the game in the home half of the sixth inning as Dykota Spiess got things going with a lead-off double down the right field line off of Frazier. Bradley Strong walked to load the bases with Jones driving in the tying run on a sacrifice fly to center, setting up Martin's seventh inning heroics.

Nursing the four-run lead, Team Realtree survived a real threat in the top of the eighth behind sophomore right-hander Tyler Powell. After surrendering a lead-off sing to White, Powell settled to retire the next two hitters. Freshman J.D. Long was then plunked and Gragg walked to load the bases, but Powell was able to escape unscathed by getting an inning-ending fly ball to center. Powell then handed off to Hatcher for the ninth.

Highlighting the scrimmage was the play of Bradley Strong, who reached each time to the plate. The elder Strong brother finished 3-for-3 with two walks, a double and an RBI. His younger brother, Reece, had a walk, double, stole a base and drove in two runs. Team Realtree teammate Cody Jones drove in three runs with a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly, while Austin Neary stole two bases and drove in a pair of runs. Martin provided the only long ball of the game with his seventh inning homer.

For Team Digital, Luke Gragg had three hits including a double with Aaron Attaway plating a pair of runs with a two-bagger. Julian Ridings also drove in a couple runs, one coming on a triple.

Game two is scheduled for 4:15 pm on Friday afternoon with the series and fall practice - regardless of the outcome of game two - concluding on Saturday morning with first pitch at 10:00 am.

- Western Carolina baseball alums Matt Benedict, Andrew Chilcoat and Ross Heffley were in attendance during Wednesday's opening game of the 2012 Catamount Camo Fall World Series.