Knights score 19 in historic first inning, wallop NCLA to stay undefeated

BY VICTOR HENSLEY, News + Record Staff
Posted 5/12/21

SILER CITY — If you were in attendance for Chatham Charter’s homecoming festivities, you might have caught a glimpse of baseball rarity.

It’s on par with the odds of attending an MLB …

The News + Record is worth reading!

We’re all about Chatham County, and we welcome you to our site. You can view up to 3 stories each month, then registration is required.

Please sign in below if you have an account. If not, please register here to get an account and an additional 7 stories each month. It’s easy and takes just a minute.

Our staff works hard to bring good journalism, writing and story-telling to Chatham County. HELP US! You can get the News + Record mailed to you weekly by subscribing here.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Knights score 19 in historic first inning, wallop NCLA to stay undefeated

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access: $3.99/month

Print + Digital: $5.99/month

Posted
Updated:

SILER CITY — If you were in attendance for Chatham Charter’s homecoming festivities, you might have caught a glimpse of baseball rarity.

It’s on par with the odds of attending an MLB no-hitter or a single player hitting two grand slams in an inning. In fact, the Knights accomplished something in a high school game that’s never been done in the 152-year history of Major League Baseball.

They scored 19 runs in an inning.

To put it lightly, Chatham Charter controlled the game on Friday in a four-inning, 19-7 win against the NC Leadership Academy Falcons.

“I’ve had some really, really good teams, but I’ve never had a team score 19 runs in an inning,” said Bill Slaughter, Chatham Charter’s head baseball coach. “That’s unheard of.”

It was equal parts ugly and beautiful.

After the Falcons were held scoreless in a 1-2-3 inning by Chatham Charter junior starting pitcher Landon Hussey to open the game, the flood gates opened in the bottom of the first.

Falcons junior pitcher Nicholas Hurst, who struggled to find his control, walked Knights freshman Aidan Allred to lead off the inning, followed by back-to-back singles by senior Jacob Brannon and senior Trevor Golden, the latter of which drove in two runs, giving Chatham Charter a 2-0 lead with no outs.

Compared to the rest of the inning, that was mild.

Hurst would end up walking six batters (and hitting another) — including two bases-loaded walks — along with allowing four singles before being pulled from the game in the first.

When NCLA head coach Phillip Landphair came out of the dugout and pulled Hurst, it was a 9-0 game with the bases loaded and Golden — Chatham Charter’s three-hole batter — at the plate for the second time already. The Knights still had zero outs.

“I know part of it was that the kid couldn’t throw strikes and some things didn’t go right for him, but we made a lot of that happen, too,” Slaughter said. “When we had opportunities, we put the ball in play hard.”

Falcons sophomore William Kauffman, who pitched the remainder of the inning, also had a tough time with the Knights’ batters. He opened by walking Golden, pushing Chatham Charter’s lead to 10-0 before the first out was even recorded.

Finally, with runners on the corners and the score 12-0, Kauffman struck out senior Carter Phillips — in the team’s 15th plate appearance — for the first out of the first inning.

Another quick out followed — a grounder hit by junior Colton Nixon that also drove in a run — but a single and a walk came next, loading the bases again for the Knights. Kauffman followed it up by walking Allred with the bases loaded, scoring a run, and hitting Brannon in the back, scoring another. The bags remained full with two outs. It was 15-0.

That’s when Golden (2-for-3, HR, 7 RBI) — a player more revered for his pitching than hitting — slammed the door shut on the reeling Falcons, capping off his career inning with a well-timed blast to right field that landed near the wall and forced an outfielder to chase it down. All four Knights, including Golden, made it home before the ball found its way back into the infield. It was an inside-the-park grand slam that gave Chatham Charter its 19-0 lead.

The crowd was in disbelief, the Knights were in celebration mode and the Falcons appeared lost in a game that had gotten out of hand so quickly, just two-thirds of the way through the first inning.

“I’ve never seen it balloon like that before, it just seemed like the confidence level grew,” Slaughter said. “And then you start thinking the other way because I’ve been on benches where I’ve had teams get beat really badly. … First of all, it’s ‘don’t get anybody hurt,’ but let’s don’t embarrass them, either.”

In that 19-run first inning, the Knights had eight hits, nine walks and two hit batters. Three of Chatham Charter’s players — Allred, Brannon and Golden — reached base three times in the first.

From there, the Knights played the second and third innings primarily with players who don’t get the opportunity to see the field often. Some of them got at-bats for the first time this season.

“It’s just a matter of getting some guys in the ballgame and getting some experience for them,” Slaughter said. “I’m so happy for those guys. Yeah, Trevor Golden’s been there, Carter Phillips’ been there … but some of these younger guys haven’t, so to see them excited like they were in the dugout and pull for each other, that’s what it’s all about.”

NCLA ended up putting seven runs on the board once Allred (2.0 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) came in to pitch for Hussey in the third and fourth innings.

While the game could have been over after the third — a rule exists where a game can be called after three innings if a team is up by 15 or more runs — both teams agreed to play the fourth to allow NCLA coach Landphair a shot at letting some of his other hitters get a chance. Then, the Falcons went on a mini scoring tear of their own, putting up four runs in the fourth.

“(Landphair) got it to 19-7 and I was thinking he might want to keep going,” Slaughter said with a laugh. “It might have wound up being 28-24 before it was all said and done.”

The Knights’ dominant victory keeps them undefeated on the season at 3-0. Having allowed just seven runs on the year — all on Friday — Chatham Charter is sure to be in the running for the top spot in the Central Tar Heel 1A Conference at season’s end if everything goes according to Slaughter’s plan.

However, there’s still plenty of time in between and plenty of obstacles in their way, namely the Cornerstone Charter Academy Cardinals, who are also undefeated (1-0) on the year.

“We have a chance to be very successful in our league,” Slaughter said. “Anybody can step up and beat you, but if things pan out like they should and Trevor (Golden) stays healthy and (the Cardinals’) kids stay healthy, it should be us and Cornerstone fighting this thing out.”

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment