Bulldogs edge Cavs in Harbor fight

Published 10:02pm Saturday, May 3, 2014

Those longing to be taken out to the ballgame got everything they could have hoped for on Friday courtesy of Lakeland High School, King’s Fork High School and the Norfolk Tides.

The two local schools put on a show in a back-and-forth contest, and the Tides supplied the venue as the schools participated with them for the second year in a joint fundraising effort. The Bulldogs went ahead for good in the bottom of the sixth inning off a two-RBI single by senior Truman Boyd to win 6-5 at Harbor Park.

King's Fork High School senior Truman Boyd hurls a pitch on Friday against Lakeland High School at Harbor Park. His defense and offense led the Bulldogs to victory.
King’s Fork High School senior Truman Boyd hurls a pitch on Friday against Lakeland High School at Harbor Park. His defense and offense led the Bulldogs to victory.

“We came into the game knowing that we were going to have a tough time, just because both teams are excited to play in this kind of atmosphere,” KF head coach Pat Stafford said. “Most of these guys, especially a lot of the older guys, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play on a field like this.”

The Bulldogs played the Cavs at the stadium last year, winning 15-7, but many players on this year’s rosters were not on the teams last year.

Boyd, who was also the winning pitcher, was playing at Harbor Park for the first time and shared what it was like to come through for his team in that setting.

“It’s feels good,” he said. “It’s a good experience. I was really confident, it’s a whole lot of pressure, though.”

He cited his strategy to manage the pressure: “Keep my head up and know I’ll get the next guy.”

Boyd improved to 1-1 on the mound, coming in during the fourth inning to finish out the game. He gave up three hits, two runs, one earned and threw five strikeouts.

Lakeland took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, then King’s Fork grabbed it in the second inning, 2-1. The Cavaliers rattled off three runs in the top of the fifth to make it 4-2, but the Bulldogs tied it up in the bottom of the fifth.

Stafford did not think his team played its best baseball, but he was pleased with its fight.

“Every time Lakeland scored a run, we always responded within the next inning or so,” he said.

The Cavaliers took a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth, but then Boyd scored junior Kalev Henry and senior Connor McNamara for what proved to be the final score.

“What will I remember?” said Boyd, referring to his Harbor Park experience. “The hit.”

Junior Duke Santora went 3-for-4, with a triple and one run scored. Junior Cal Bailey hit a double, producing a run batted in, as did freshman Tristen DeGuzman.

Lakeland head coach David Devers said his team had chances, but left some out on the field. He gave credit to King’s Fork for pulling it out.

“I thought they did a pretty good job when they had their opportunities,” he said. “We just ran out of opportunities at the end.”

Devers highlighted senior Austin Mills, who spearheaded some of Lakeland’s rallies. Mills went 1-for-1, drew two walks, scored two runs and had one stolen base.

Senior Ryan Stalnaker went 2-for-3 with a walk and a triple and drove Austin in twice, to have two RBIs for the game.

It was Devers’ first time coaching at Harbor Park, and he said, “It was a good experience. It was pretty cool to go over there and actually get to play a game in a AAA stadium, which is something that a lot of kids don’t get to experience.”

Lakeland will host Denbigh High School on Tuesday, while King’s Fork will host Heritage High School.

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