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Trask makes fast work of Pender with 11-0 win


BURGAW | The Tri-County Conference baseball schedule is nearing the midway point and two teams in the middle of the pack met Friday night for a possible leg up on a playoff berth.

Trask High School won a mercy-rule shortened 11-0 decision over home-standing Pender, behind Sean Grant's five-inning, complete-game one-hitter.

Grant retired the first 12 Patriots he faced, through the first four innings.

But leading off the fifth, Brad Rivenbark's looping pop up found a spot of grass in the outfield as it fell between three converging fielders.

Rivenbark stretched the hit into a double, before Grant wrapped things up by retiring the next three batters.

"I was just trying to put the ball where they'd hit it to my fielders, and it worked out," Grant said. "It's pretty important because it's a rivalry game."

The Titans (8-6, 5-3) took full advantage of a number of miscues from the Pender defense in the top of the second inning.

When all of the damage was in the books, Trask had scored nine runs for a 9-0 lead.

The inning featured two wild pitches, three errors and three hits. Chris Martin supplied a two-run single and teammate Andrew Chomiczewski drove in another run with a hit.

"We started out hitting the ball well that inning," Trask coach Jonathan Batts said. "I keep telling my guys, ‘You know, put the ball in play on the ground, make them make plays and get down the line. Put pressure on them and good things are going to happen.' "

In the meantime, Grant was retiring batters in quick succession.

"I just tell him to go out there and get ahead; establish a good fastball," Batts said. "Locate and then mix in the breaking ball and change- up a little bit and keep hitters off balance.

"Fortunately, our defense played the best it's ever played tonight."

Trask added two more runs in the third inning as Pender reliever Cameron Guertin struggled to find the strike zone and in one string walked four consecutive batters.

To Guertin's credit, he settled down and retired the next six batters.