A new beginning. That's what it felt like Friday night during the Cambridge baseball exhibition game versus Forsyth Central. A brand new (and beautiful) hitting facility, new head coach Evan Tieles and a dozen players making their first varsity appearance made this anything but your normal opening game. The outcome did not disappoint as the Bears turned it on late for a solid 9-2 exhibition win, in front of a lively crowd at Cambridge Field.
Cambridge junior Michael Polk got the start on the mound and pitched well in his first outing. After allowing a lead-off walk, he coaxed a perfectly executed 6-4-3 double play by Cody Rech and Blake Renner, before striking out the next batter. Cambridge sophomore Ryan Todd lofted a two-out single to right in the bottom of the inning, but the rally ended there. Neither offense could get anything going in the next two innings as the game entered inning four.
Renner replaced Polk, striking out the first two batters during a perfect inning of work. The Bears offense sparked to life in the bottom of the inning courtesy of walks by Chase Durham and Todd. Both runners advanced a base before scoring on a long single to left center by junior Ross Friedrick, putting the Bears on the board with a 2-0 lead. Another perfect inning in the fifth by Renner featured two more strikeouts, while the Cambridge offense added an additional run on the strength of three more walks and a fielder's choice by Durham for a 3-0 lead.
Forsyth pushed two across in the sixth courtesy of a HBP, two singles and an error, making the score 3-2. Cambridge went quietly in the bottom of the sixth and the game moved to the seventh. Sophomore Casey Young replaced Renner on the mound and promptly struck out the Forsyth shortstop. Senior Andrew Spears entered the mound to close things out and did so with a strikeout and a fly out to right.
Forsyth asked to play out the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Cambridge bats really came alive. Junior Turner Rosenbaum led off the inning with a line drive single to right, eventually scoring on a Durham sac fly. Senior Connor Morris singled in another run, and senior Justin Tanguay singled in two more. Sophomore Jared Spears finished off the scoring with a soft liner to right center, driving in the final two runs of the game and completing the 9-2 victory.
Renner got the win, going three innings in relief of Polk, striking out four in the process. Polk also struck out four in his three scoreless innings. Six Bears had a hit in the game with Friedrick, Durham, Tanguay and Jared Spears each driving in a pair.
Cambridge begins non-region play next Thursday, February 15th @ Norcross HS. Game time is 5:55 PM.