Warriors come up short in finale

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 17, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

A controversial call ended Nansemond River (NR) High School’s chances in the finals of the Nansemond River Spring Invitational tournament on a cold, overcast Thursday evening, as the Warriors fell 2-0 to Mount Vernon.

After NR managed only a single hit through the first five innings, Chris Topping drew a walk to open the sixth with the Majors up, 1-0. David Ewell and Greg Sexton struck out, but Topping managed to steal his way to third base.

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With a full count, Brian Stoner hit a chopper to shortstop. As Topping bolted home, the Major shortstop bobbled the ball, then threw a one-hopper to first, a throw that arrived seconds after Stoner touched the base.

As Nansemond River fans started to rejoice over the game-tying run, the umpire, standing near the pitcher’s mound, hesitated. Then he decided that Stoner was out, ending the inning and NR’s shot at winning its home tournament.

The controversy did little to darken the accomplishments of Major pitcher Danny Guilino, who mowed down the Warriors with a complete game, 13-strikeout tournament-MVP performance. For their play over the three-day event, Warriors Sexton, Topping, Ewell and Eric Berry were named to the All-Tournament team.

NR, who finished the tournament at 3-1, defeating Booker T. Washington, Norview and Northampton will visit Deep Creek on Monday

In the third seed game, Lakeland used a 10-run third inning to storm past Booker T. Washington for a 15-1, five-inning victory. The Cavaliers finished the tournament at 2-2, up from 1-3 last season. For batting .333, batting in five runs, scoring four, and hitting a home run, Jonathan Roberts was named to the All-Tournament team.

After the Bookers jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, the Cavalier offense went to work. Chase Nelson and Robert Hedrick reached on errors, and Corey Ricks singled Nelson home. Brian Ashburn walked to load the bases, and Ricky Lainhart and Lee Abernathy knocked in four runs with back-to-back doubles, and Abernathy scored when Steve Morean reached on an error.

Nelson knocked a single to left to score Morean, and Hedrick knocked an inside-the-park home run to the centerfield fence for a 9-1 lead. Roberts scored on a wild pitch, and the Cavaliers had a 10-1 advantage.

They continued rolling in the fourth, as Hedrick singled in two more runs and Ashburn drew a bases loaded walk to force in Nelson. Two more runs in the fifth finished off the Bookers for good. Lakeland will visit Indian River on Monday.