On any senior day in high school sports, distractions can be the rule of the day.
Playing your last regular season game at home, parents and family typically in attendance and fellow students cheering you on, it’s a recipe for defeat while getting caught up in the festivities. Add to that your opponent is your top rival, and someone has to be the knight in shining armor to save the day.
Cave Spring underclassman Spencer Craig played the role to perfection.
Craig, Cave Spring’s first baseman batting in the seventh spot in the lineup, rocketed a towering three-run homer in the bottom of the third that erased an early 3-1 lead by rival Hidden Valley, and the Knights never looked back in pulling away for the 9-4 win Thursday afternoon.
The homer to deep left was a senior day no-doubter from the moment it left the bat.
The senior day jitters had gripped Cave Spring in the early going.
Hidden Valley manufactured a run in the top of the first without the benefit of a hit after a walk, wild pitch, fielder’s choice grounder and sacrifice fly had the Titans on top 1-0.
Cave Spring answered in the bottom half of the inning with a little charity from Hidden Valley. After Cave Spring senior A.J. Cacciatore connected on the first of his three hits on the day with a one out single to right, two straight Titan infield errors and a wild pitch sent Cacciatore across the plate to tie things at 1.
Hidden Valley added two runs in the top of the third after a hit batsman, three wild pitches and two walks loaded the bases with one out. A sacrifice fly and a single followed to put the Titans on top 3-1.
The Knights took control in the bottom of the third. Cacciatore and senior Caleb Pritchard set the table with singles before Holden Wilkerson knocked in the second Cave Spring run with a base knock that was followed by Craig’s heroics.
The Knights added a run in the fourth and Hidden Valley got one back in the sixth before Cave Spring added three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles by Cacciatore and senior Andrew Neighbors, followed by a run-scoring wild pitch.
Grant Wilson pitched a perfect 7th in relief to close the deal for Cave Spring and give Brody Luckey the win after Luckey threw three innings in relief for Knight starter Connor Lewis.
Hidden Valley shortstop and leadoff hitter Brian Henry led the Titan attack with a pair of hits.
Cave Spring improved to 14-6, while Hidden Valley dropped to 6-14 as both teams now head into postseason tournament play.