Bulldogs rise at 11th hour against Deep Creek

Published 10:04pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Being as late as one could possibly be is still better than never in the world of sports.

Host Deep Creek High School held a 5-0 lead in the top of the seventh and final inning with two outs on King’s Fork High School and two strikes on Bulldogs senior Tim Hairsine. Then, he got his team’s first hit of the game, spearheading a stunning rally that resulted in an 8-5 season-opening win for King’s Fork.

“It was a pretty exciting last 20 minutes of the game,” Bulldogs head coach Pat Stafford said.

Before then, the Hornets were the only ones to get excited in a game that was scoreless through four innings. They scored all five of their runs in the fifth.

Stafford said he encouraged his team to try to get one or two runs back in the sixth to set up a run in the seventh. The Bulldogs continued to be scoreless, though, playing against an opponent he said his team knew was going to be a challenge, in part, because of its talented pitcher.

This left-handed pitcher “had 12 strikeouts and had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning,” Stafford said.

The coach shared his exhortation to his team at this point.

“Let’s just try to put as much pressure as we can on them,” he said.

Hairsine had the game’s first success against the Hornets thrower when he hit his two-out, two-strike blooper over shortstop for a single. There were five different times in which King’s Fork hitters were one strike from losing the game.

Following Hairsine’s hit, Deep Creek changed pitchers. Two walks later, the bases were loaded. Freshman Tim Gromkoski batted a run in, scoring Hairsine to put the Bulldogs on the board. Another walk with the bases still loaded made it 5-2.

Senior Connor McNamara hit a two-RBI single to bring the visitors within one, and junior Cal Bailey’s two-RBI double gave the Bulldogs the lead.

Freshman Blake Sargent got on base because of an error, and then Hairsine recorded his second hit of the game, a two-RBI double, to make it 8-5.

King’s Fork was efficient in protecting its newfound advantage for good during the bottom of the seventh as Bailey pitched.

“Cal started off the inning with two back-to-back strikeouts,” Stafford said.

Earlier, Sargent pitched for four and two-thirds innings, allowing one walk, one earned run and throwing three strikeouts.

Senior Truman Boyd came in for an inning and a third and ended up having two strikeouts.

For Bailey’s one and one-third innings, he earned the win on the mound.

King’s Fork (1-0, 0-0) experienced another weather delay on Tuesday, postponing its game at Great Bridge High School until Thursday. The Bulldogs will host Indian River High School on Friday.

After Monday’s game, Stafford said because of the Virginia High School League’s realignment, Deep Creek could be a regional contender in Group 4A. That means the Bulldogs have scored a big win against a team they may have to face at a higher level.

“That’s definitely a big confidence booster for the guys,” Stafford said.

Additionally, he said the game proved that even if you are down by a couple of runs in the seventh, “Anything is possible in the game of baseball.”

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