Nick Guerra (left) and Quincy Wilkens (right) combined for 4 RBI to lead the Hillcats to a 10-8 win. Photos by Josh Belanger.
Nick Guerra continued his hot streak at the plate this summer, leading the Hillcats Prime 17u to a 10-8 comeback victory over the MVP Royals South 2021 last night at Poplar Tree Park.
The sophomore from Stuart High School went 3-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs on two doubles while also scoring three times for the Hillcats. His pair of doubles in the bottom of the fifth started and capped a seven-run rally that gave the Hillcats the lead after trailing 8-3. Guerra has now recorded three hits in three consecutive games this summer.
“Nick has been outstanding at the plate. He is just mashing first pitch fastballs and being really aggressive,” Hillcats coach Chris Nolan said. “The biggest problem we have is figuring out where to spot him in the lineup where he can do the most damage.”
The Hillcats took a three-run lead after three innings, touching up Royals starter Chris Flemmons for four hits including a two-run single from Quincy Wilkens. Meanwhile, the Royals failed to record a hit against Archer Rutledge through the first two innings.
Chris Cippola finally got the Royals in the hit column with a base hit in the third inning that was followed by an RBI double from Rixon Webb. The Royals would send 11 batters to the plate in the inning, eventually scoring eight runs in the frame and chasing Rutledge from the game.
Wilkens entered with one out in the third and allowed a pair of inherited runs to score, but then proceeded to pitch 2.2 inning scoreless in relief to keep the Hillcats within reach. After walking the first two batters he faced, Wilkens dialed back and worked out of the bases loaded jam with a double play. “I think the first inning I was trying to throw too hard and I was missing short, so I really simplified it and got right to the plate,” Wilkens said.
The right-hander then struck out four batters in a row after allowing back-to-back singles in the fourth and then used a pair of groundouts to Guerra to finish off the game.
Sam Phelps and Timmy Bradley joined Guerra in each driving in two runs off reliever Ryan Barker in the fifth inning for the Hillcats. An RBI base hit from Tyler Brocato tied the game at 8-8, eventually leading to the go-ahead RBI double from Guerra. The Hillcats probably would have added runs in the third and fourth innings were it not for several stellar plays from Webb at shortstop.
The Hillcats will play next in a doubleheader against the BCC Prospects on Saturday while the Royals will play in a twin bill against the MVP Royals Central on Sunday.