Posted: Wednesday, March 19th 2014 at 11:58pm
Baseball: White County stays perfect in 7-AAA
By Jeff Hart Staff
White County's Tray Gearin (3) gets a congratulations from Joel Pritchett after he scores a run Wednesday in the Warriors' 6-2 win over East Hall in Region 7-AAA baseball action.
RABBITTOWN -- White County is proving that any path to a Region 7-AAA title will have to go through the Warriors.
Matt Hambrick tossed a complete-game four-hitter to lead White County to a 6-2 win over East Hall on Wednesday at East Hall Park.
Hambrick’s effort came one day after Warriors’ ace Spencer Adams threw a one-hitter to beat Dawson County. The win kept the Warriors (10-0, 5-0 Region 7-AAA) atop the region standings nearly a fourth of the way through the schedule.
“We don’t have a lot of offense right now so we have to win with pitching,” White County coach John Brown said. “All of our guys have been throwing it well.”
Brown said he is a little surprised at how well they have started the season.
“We knew we had some players but you never really know what guys can do until you put them out there,” Bown said. “Everyone has played pretty well so far. We’ve had some injuries and we had an entirely new infield tonight. But we’re glad to be where we are right now.”
East Hall (3-5, 1-3) helped out the Warriors with four errors that led to four unearned runs. The Vikings' runs did not come until a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh by Hunter Buffington.
East Hall pitchers Jack Hagwood (4.1 IP, 6H, 2BB, 0K) and Eli Stuart (2.2 IP, 4H, 1K) deserved better fates. Combined they only allowed two earned runs.
“They helped us out a little but that’s how we have to win games by taking advantage of teams’ mistakes,” Brown said.
Both Hagwood and Hambrick allowed single base runners in the first but did not allow a run. The Warriors had a chance for a huge inning in the second.
The Vikings committed back-to-back errors and Hagwood hit Peyton Applewhite to load the bases with no one out. But Hagwood induced a ground ball double play from Trent Morgan, scoring Tray Gearin, and got Joel Pritchett to ground out to end the inning with just one run crossing the plate.
East Hall got a lead-off double from Hagwood in the second but he was erased on a fielder’s choice and the Vikings left a runner stranded.
White County added to its lead in the third. Flowers doubled to lead off but was caught in a rundown on a ground ball by Adams. Stetson Gearin followed with a single and both Adams and Gearin moved up on a double steal. Hambrick knocked both in with a shot down the third base line to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth White County extended the lead to 4-0 on a RBI single by Hambrick scoring Adams, who reached on an error to start the inning. The Vikings changed pitchers and Stuart was able to get out the inning no more damage with a double play, the second turned by East Hall in the first five innings.
The Vikings had a another solid chance in the fifth when Hambrick walked a pair of batters. But Hambrick got Jacob Cash to pop to third to end the threat.
White County put things out of reach in the sixth with two more runs for a 6-0 lead. Trey Allen and Applewhite began the inning with back-to-back singles but Stuart looked like he was going to get out of the jam after a strike out and ground out. But the Vikings’ fourth error of the game allowed both runners to score on what should have been an inning-ending ground out.
The East Hall offense just could not get a breakthrough hit until the seventh. They stranded six runners through the first four innings and seven for the game.
Jesse Cooper had two hits for East Hall.
The two teams will meet again on Friday in Cleveland. East Hall will play host to Fannin County Thursday in a makeup game from Monday.
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