Warrior power tops Bruins

Published 10:53 pm Friday, March 18, 2011

Nansemond River’s baseball team greets Travis Johnson, somewhere in the middle of the pile, after his grand slam home run in the fifth inning of Friday’s 10-8 Warrior win over visiting Western Branch. Johnson hit two home runs for six RBI. His grand slam made it 10-5 NR.

Nansemond River’s Travis Johnson hammered two home runs, including a grand slam in the fifth inning, to lead the Warriors in outslugging visiting Western Branch 10-8 in a Southeastern District game Friday evening.

Johnson’s first blast was part of a Warrior rally in response to the Bruins breaking out their bats in the top half of the first.

The Bruins tagged four hard hit balls against NR starting pitcher Tyler Brown. Three went for hits and one was a sacrifice fly sending Warrior right fielder Dylan Roach right up against the fence a few strides inside the foul pole. Roach’s catch and the Warriors throwing out a Bruin trying to steal second to end the inning kept the Bruins to two runs.

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Brown singled and Ryan O’Hara walked to set up a big chance in the Warrior first. Clean-up hitter Kyle Moore singled into center to bring both runners in.

Johnson, in the sixth spot of NR’s order, connected on a blast that the whole Warrior dugout knew was gone from the “ping” of Johnson’s bat. The drive carried beyond the center field fence for a 4-2 NR lead.

The power hitting continued from both clubs. Western Branch got homers in each of the next two innings for a 5-5 score through three innings.

The Warriors regained a one-run lead in the fourth but were staring at giving that run and likely more right back in the Bruin fifth.

After a single, a walk and a single back-to-back-to-back with one out, the Warriors turned a rare double play, from third to home to first, with Blake Eure snagging a hard grounder while playing in on the grass to start the play, to suddenly end the inning.

In turn, the Warriors set up their next big scoring chance with no hits. Three straight walks to open the NR fifth set up the inning, but the Bruins made an out at the plate and got a strikeout for two outs, bringing Johnson up.

Johnson roped a line drive that carried and carried until it was beyond the right-center field fence to take the Warrior lead to 10-5, bring every Warrior leaping and yelling out of the dugout and give Johnson six RBI on the night.

After giving up five runs in the first three innings, Brown held the Bruins through the next three innings. He was taken out after giving up a walk to start the Bruin seventh.

Moore came on and the Warriors held on through another round of sharp Bruin hitting.

The Bruins tagged Moore for three straight hits, making the score 10-8 and putting the tying runner on second with one out.

Moore got a pop-out to Josh Howard at second and a pop-out to shortstop Brandon Lowe in shallow left field to seal the victory.

The Bruins swept Nansemond River last season. The win caps a 2-0 opening week for the Warriors. Brown got the win in both games, going the first four innings in NR’s 8-1 win at King’s Fork Tuesday. The Warriors will host Oscar Smith Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.