Cedar Creek goes the extra mile (again) for latest win

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sibson Bill LeConey/Cedar Creek senior Andrew Sibson fires a pitch in Wednesday's game against St. Joseph. HAMMONTON – The Cedar Creek High School baseball team had to dig down a little deeper – and absorb a few St. Joseph counter-punches – to nail down the latest victory of a surprising season.

Marty Ortiz singled through a drawn-in infield to plate the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning, and the Pirates went on to beat the St. Joseph Wildcats, 3-2, at a blustery Hammonton Lake Park Wednesday afternoon.

It was the seventh straight win for Cedar Creek (8-2), and the third time this year the Pirates have gone into extra innings. “We’ve got a lot of fight in us,” said starter Andrew Sibson, who went seven innings, striking out seven and allowing only four hits, but did not get the decision.

Instead, Alex Boney got the win in relief, shutting down the Wildcats for four innings. Both pitchers got plenty of help from the Cedar Creek defense, particularly shortstop Ortiz and outfielders Zack Newman and Justin McFadden, who chased down several flyballs that were buffeted by the gale-force winds.

“Andrew’s been great,” Cedar Creek coach Mike Isgro said of Sibson, a senior from Galloway. “He’s keeping us in ballgames, finding a way to get wins. He’s attacking the strike zone, working ahead, pitching his game, and we’re playing good defense behind him. Both pitchers did a great job today, working ahead of the hitters and letting the defense do the work behind them."

Sibson took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning courtesy of a John Rivera go-ahead single. But he struggled with his command in that inning, hitting a leadoff batter who later scored the trying run on a throwing error.

Cedar Creek finally broke through in the 11th against hard-throwing St. Joe right-hander Alex Craig. Kyle Eisele and John Rivera were both hit by pitches to start the inning. Brett Kelly’s groundout to the right side put runners on second and third before Ortiz smacked a single past the second baseman to break the tie.

“Brett Kelly moved them over, and then Marty came up and did a great job of getting it through the infield,” Isgro said. “It was just a total team effort. We work on those situations during practice, and it paid off for us.”

The Pirates lost their season opener to Middle Township in nine innings but have responded with big wins against Buena Regional, Sterling and St. Joseph in recent weeks to assert themselves as legitimate contenders in the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference.

“These guys just keep battling, they don’t give up,” Isgro said. “That’s why I’m proud of these guys, day-in and day-out. We’re not worrying about a streak or anything else. We’re just taking it one game at a time, narrowing it down to one inning, one at-bat, one pitch. Every game we’re trying to be 1-0, that’s all.”

boneyhit Bill LeConey/Cedar Creek's Alex Boney takes a cut at a pitch during the Pirates' win over St. Joe. boney2 Cedar Creek's Alex Boney boneypitch Bill LeConey/Cedar Creek's Alex Boney pitched four shutout innings in relief of Andrew Sibson on Wednesday. ortiz Bill LeConey/Cedar Creek's Marty Ortiz confers with first base coach Ryan Flannery after his go-ahead RBI single in the 11th.

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