Moore throws no-hitter, hits walk-off grand slam to cap off career night in Bears blowout

BY BRENNAN DOHERTY, News + Record Correspondent
Posted 5/15/21

BEAR CREEK — Naturally, most no-hitters end with the pitcher recording the final out

Chatham Central’s Michael Moore had other plans: He went yard.

With the bases loaded and his …

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Moore throws no-hitter, hits walk-off grand slam to cap off career night in Bears blowout

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Posted

BEAR CREEK — Naturally, most no-hitters end with the pitcher recording the final out

Chatham Central’s Michael Moore had other plans: He went yard.

With the bases loaded and his team firmly ahead of visiting South Stanly by seven runs in the bottom of the fifth on Thursday night, Moore expected a fastball and got a fastball. The result was a crushed baseball, one deposited over the left-field fence.

The grand slam triggered the NCHSAA’s 10-run rule, which goes into effect in the fifth frame of seven-inning games, as the Bears earned an 11-0 win to improve to 3-2 overall, 2-1 in the Yadkin Valley 1A conference (4-2 overall after a 9-1 win over Gray Stone Day on Friday night).

And just as most typical no-hitters end, Moore, a senior three-sport athlete, was mobbed by his teammates by the night’s end — but as he crossed home plate, not while standing on the mound.

In addition to not allowing a hit in five innings of work against South Stanly, Moore went 2-for-4 at the dish, driving in a team-high seven RBI and recording two extra-base hits, including the game-ender.

“I knew I was getting fastball,” said Moore, who also served as Chatham Central’s starting quarterback and recently committed to play football collegiately at Catawba College in Salisbury. “I was up in the count, and just swung at it and hit it pretty good, I guess.”

Moore’s see-ball, hit-ball approach at the plate was simple and proved to be effective. The same can be said for his gameplan on the mound as well.

Although he walked two of the first three batters he faced — Moore allowed five baserunners: four via bases on balls and one on a fielder’s choice — he quickly settled in, showing that his early troubles locating the strike zone were an anomaly and not a precursor to what was to come.

The 6-foot-4, 170-pound righty never necessarily overpowered the South Stanly hitters, but instead consistently got ahead in counts and kept them guessing from there. Batters didn’t know to look for Moore’s heater or his off-speed stuff, and they struggled to guess his location.

“When you’re ahead in the count, the hitter’s on their toes,” Moore said. “Instead of being aggressive, they’re sitting and waiting to see what you throw. So, it helps a lot for sure.”

At one point, Moore retired 10 consecutive batters from the first to the fourth inning, and he finished with six strikeouts. When he struck out South Stanly’s Jaxon Barbee on three pitches to end the third, Moore enthusiastically slapped his glove as he returned to the dugout.

Moments later, Moore drove in the game’s first run with a run-scoring groundout to second base in the bottom of the third. An inning later, with Chatham Central then ahead 3-0, Moore hit a gapper to left-center that sent in teammates Collin Lagenor and Brady Cunnup, breaking the game open at 5-0.

As a pitcher, Moore’s abilities “give us a chance every time out,” Chatham Central head coach Brett Walden said. His senior’s power at the plate is a welcome new development, however. Case in point: If first base wasn’t occupied when Moore approached the plate before subsequently homering, Walden said he would’ve considered a safety squeeze.

“Up until this year, he really hasn’t hit,” Walden said. “Freshman year, we had to bring him up early because we needed an infielder. Sophomore year, he didn’t hit particularly well. Last year, we only had four games but he didn’t hit particularly well early. But he’s gotten stronger and he’s started hitting well recently. I hope he keeps it up.”

Beyond Moore, the Bears played soundly as a group and got contributions up and down their lineup. Chatham Central didn’t commit any errors, and each Bears batter reached base at least once, including the leadoff hitter, Lagenor, who hit three singles, scored two runs and stole a base as the designated hitter. Even third baseman Colby Williamson, hitting in the 8-hole, recorded a single and executed a pair of sacrifice bunts.

That’s good news for Walden, who knows his team will need contributions from everyone to compete at the top of the Yadkin Valley, along with powers Uwharrie Charter Academy and North Moore.

“I hope the guys continue to play confident,” Walden said. “Hopefully, we can be in the mix for a playoff spot late.”

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