By D.N. PENNELL, Jr.
After dropping their first two games of the season, the Alexander Central Varsity Cougars rallied for a 5-4 win over St. Stephens on Friday for the first win of the 2017 season.
Matt Wilkinson’s double in the bottom of the seventh plated pinch runner Nathaniel Moretz from second base with the game-winning run. The one run win made the Cougars a winner in the home opener at Bob Gryder Stadium and erased some of the disappointing of back-to-back losses to Mt. Tabor and South Caldwell to open the season.
Wilkinson, Trae Starnes, and Grayson Chapman, and Luke Hensley led Alexander’s nine-hit offensive effort with a pair of hits each. Wilkinson finished the day with a pair of RBI, while Kyler Fairchild and Gabe Barkley plated one run apiece.
On the mound, Rhyne Johnson picked up his first win as a Cougar in relief of start Zach Hammer. Hammer was effective for four innings before being lifted in the fifth frame. He allowed four runs on four hits and fanned four. Wilkinson faced a pair of batters in the fifth before Johnson came to the mound in the same frame.
The right hander worked the final three frames without allowing a hit and fanned six.
The Cougars (1-2) were slated to open NPC league play at South Iredell on Tuesday. Alexander will host North Iredell in conference games on Friday, March 10 and travel to Providence on Saturday, March 11.