Edenton edges BertiePublished 12:25pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012
WINDSOR – A little bit closer every time.
Bertie High baseball coach Randy Whitaker’s young Falcons may have lost 8-5 Tuesday night to rival Edenton, but their learning curve continues to climb.
The team, which features just two seniors, played a back-and-forth contest that the Aces only took command of in the late innings. Bertie fell to 2-10 overall and 1-4 in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.
Tommy Cowan went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs for Bertie. Alex Harmon was 2-for-4 and scored three runs. Javier Pagola, Chris Johnson and Adam Cowand also had base hits for the Falcons.
Cowand, who also started on the mound, went six innings giving up seven runs – four of them unearned – on seven hits and striking out four. He later had relief help from Cowan and Alex Harmon.
“Adam threw the ball really well tonight,” said Whitaker. “Probably the best he’s thrown it all year, overall.”
Tyler Winslow went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs for Edenton (5-4, 2-2, NEC).
“Our biggest thing every game is play like we’re capable of playing,” added Whitaker. “The last three or four ball games we’ve been struggling fielding-wise and hitting-wise, but tonight we played good defense and we had some good at-bats.
“Our goal right now is to keep improving so we’ll be that much better in the years to come,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of kids who’re getting some experience.”
Bertie struck first on the scoreboard: Pagola opened the game with a base hit and moved to second on a wild pitch. Harmon followed with a shot into the gap in right-center, but an alert throw prevented Pagola from scoring. He later came home on Cowan’s sacrifice fly.
With two outs, Johnson hit a liner to left field that scored Harmon and after a fly-out the Falcons had busted out in front, 2-0.
Edenton came back to even the score in the top of the second and go ahead, 3-2, in the top of the third before the Falcons came back to push two more runs across, thanks to three straight base hits.
Harmon got his second hit of the game, a one-out grounder, followed by Cowand’s shot at almost the same spot. Cowan then sent a ball to deep center which the Edenton centerfielder misjudged and that produced two more Falcon runs and a 4-3 Bertie lead.
The Aces got a run in the top of the fourth, however, to square the contest at 4-all.
Bertie took their final lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With one-out, Harmon reached on the only Edenton error of the night. He was later sacrificed to second, sent to third on Cowan’s second hit of the night and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch that made it, 5-4.
In the sixth inning, the Aces finally put together a successful scoring run on Cowand. With the bases loaded twice Edenton pushed three runs across on the right-hander and all of them were earned.
Bertie never threatened in the final two innings, going three-up-and-three-down in both.
“It was tight there for a while,” said Edenton coach Bill Jordan, shaking his head. “He (Cowand) didn’t throw curve balls with men on base there in the sixth, but when he went to his fast ball is when we got to him.”
“The conference has got three playoff spots,” said Whitaker. “First Flight has one and we’re one of four teams battling to get the other two.”
“If we keep improving, one of them will be ours,” he added with a sly grin.