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Pitchers#8217; duel: Advantage goes to Nansemond River

Andrew Giermak

CHESAPEAKE – Will Hirsch threw a complete game, guiding Nansemond River through a 2-1 victory Friday night at Great Bridge.

In an atmosphere in which the Warriors acted as energized as a College World Series team with each half-inning, Hirsch was steady and solid on the mound, keeping the Wildcat order quiet for most of the evening.

Neither team threatened through the first inning and a half, with the Great Bridge infield turning double plays on the Warriors in each of their first two at-bats.

The Wildcats put back-to-back runners on base with one out in the second, and eventually pushed a run across with two outs on a passed ball.

NR scrapped together their own run in the top of the third.

With one out, Michael Joseph beat out a routine-looking groundball to shortstop.

With two out and Joseph on second, Sterling Scott lined a hit into leftfield, bringing Joseph around to score.

With one down in the NR fifth, the Warriors got a rally underway with Zach Waldmoe being hit by a pitch, a balk, and a swinging bunt single by Scott, giving NR runners at first and third.

Scott stole second, and after Hirsch struck out, Topping picked up his pitcher with a liner into leftfield, scoring Waldmoe and putting NR in front.

Hirsch cruised through the GB fifth with a pair of backwards K’s, but the Wildcats would mount threats in the sixth and seventh.

In the sixth, a nice running catch by Scott down the leftfield line recorded the first out.

GB then got a walk and a double, putting two in scoring position.

Hirsch responded with back-to-back strikeouts.

In the GB seventh, NR thought they had won the game once, when with one out, the Warriors thought they had turned a 6-4-3 double play, only for the home plate umpire to call catcher’s interference, putting Wildcats at first and second with one out.

“I didn’t see it,” said Hirsch, “that’s the type of thing you can’t tell unless it knocks off the (catcher’s) glove.”

Hirsch responded as he had all night though, getting a strikeout for out two, then, after already throwing two full count pitches, getting a looking strike three with a fastball for the final out.

“I just get focused whenever I’m on the mound and I don’t let anything get to me out there,” said Hirsch.

Hirsch gave up four hits and two walks while getting nine strikeouts.

NR (6-0, 6-0) hosts Hickory Tuesday evening at 5:30.

Why the home team bats last

On the softball field at Great Bridge, the Lady Warriors fought back to force extra innings, took their first lead of the game in the top of the eighth inning, but then lost a heartbreaker in the bottom of the eighth as GB rallied for two runs to win, 3-2.

Needing a run to tie entering the seventh inning, the Lady Warriors did just that without hitting a ball out of the infield.

Stacey Dorn started off reaching first on an error by the GB shortstop.

Ashley Aston followed with a grounder to the GB second baseman; a throwing error by the second baseman was followed by an error by the GB third baseman on a throw back across the infield.

When it was all over, the Warriors had scored the tying run and Aston was on second, still with no outs.

The Lady Warriors couldn’t advance Aston though and GB had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh.

The first two Lady Wildcats hit grounders, which shortstop Kelsey Saunders made look easy, only for the next GB batter to hit a triple down the line in right.

Theroux got a grounder, which Lindsay White took care of at second, to send the game to the eighth inning.

Maddie Ridenhour’s infield single, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Theroux, set things up for Saunders, who sent a low liner through into centerfield.

Ridenhour was going the whole way around third and scored easily, making it 2-1 River.

The defending district champions fought back in the bottom of the eighth though, and with runners on second and third and one out, a clean liner into left initially scored just the runner from third.

The runner on second was stopping on third until River let the ball get away wide of the third base line and to the backstop.

The GB runner came in from third on the error, scoring the winning run.

NR (7-3, 4-2) hosts Hickory on Tuesday (5:30) and then goes to Western Branch on Friday.