Hickory’s big inning foils Warriors

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nansemond River Warriors’ head baseball coach Mark Stuffel was short and simple to the point when describing his team’s game on Tuesday afternoon.

“We gave them a nine-run inning,” said Stuffel, “that’s the only inning they scored in.”

Stuffel’s manner could describe Nansemond River’s 9-5 loss to Hickory. The Warriors played efficient baseball through five innings, leading the way the entire time 3-0. Fueled by superb pitching from Korte Mitchell, Nansemond River looked like it was on its way to a rebound victory after a 10-7 loss at Lakeland last Friday.

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Hickory would make a huge run to take the a 9-3 lead that the Warriors could not respond to.

The Warriors scored first on a bizarre play from Kyle Moore and Johnny Pitt in the bottom half of the second inning.

Moore was caught in a rundown between first and second base, until eventually being tagged. At the same time, Pitt motored down the third base line to make the score 1-0. Pitt would finish the game 3 for 4 with one RBI and two runs scored.

In the fourth inning, Pitt drove in Erickson Keeton from second on a base hit through the gap. A drive to right-center field by Jordan Long brought Pitt in from first base, giving the Warriors a 3-0 lead, until Hickory let their bats loose in the sixth inning.

Warrior errors aided Hickory’s rally. Travis Johnson fumbled a line drive at shortstop, allowing the Hawks to score their second run of the inning with no outs.

Mitchell walked the next two batters, loading the bases on the first walk, and giving up a run on the second walk, tying the game, 3-3.

“Korte (Mitchell) did very well, defensively behind him we could’ve made a few plays,” said Stuffel. “He ran into a situation where the lineup had been around a few times and they had seen him.”

Mitchell would be replaced by Dylan Roach, but the Hawks’ run was full-blown by this time.

The dagger came when Roach allowed a three-run homer to Hickory’s Will Flora with two outs, giving the Hawks a 9-3 lead.

The Warriors managed to score two more runs between the bottom of the sixth inning and the seventh inning, but were not able to amass a rally to match that of Hickory’s

Keeton said, “we played good, we just had a bad inning that’s what really lost it for us.” Keeton finished 2 for 4 with one run scored.

The Warriors (5-10, 4-9) next face cross-town rival King’s Fork at home on Friday.