Bertie ends long skid

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

WINDSOR – There were tears in the eyes of veteran Bertie baseball boss Randy Whitaker Tuesday.

The coach, who has helped lead Bertie to some its highest heights, was moved to tears by a single victory – the one that broke a 24-game losing streak for the once-proud program.

&uot;It’s bad to say, but for the last two years, people have been laughing at us,&uot; Whitaker said. &uot;With me being a graduate here and Coach (Robert) Kravitz being a graduate here, we’ve taken this streak very personally.

&uot;They say the most difficult one to win is the first one,&uot; he added. &uot;Well, that monkey’s off our back now.&uot;

Bertie claimed that win (5-3) against perennial playoff power Plymouth High School thanks to a fifth-inning rally.

Trailing 3-2, Lance Thomas drew a base on balls to open the fifth frame. After two outs, Corey Castelloe was intentionally walked.

Dustin Jones made the Vikings pay for that move as he lined an RBI-double into right-center field to deadlock the contest.

Then, on a passed ball, Whitaker rolled the dice and sent the 5’11&uot;, 240-pound Castelloe to the plate. He beat the throw and then Jones (5’11&uot;, 238) followed him in to push the Falcons to a 5-3 advantage.

&uot;They walked Corey intentionally and Dustin made them pay for it,&uot; Whitaker said. &uot;They are a very good ball club – one that always makes the state playoffs. To beat them I hope says something about our program.&uot;

The Vikings, however, weren’t finished as they used an A. Hedgepeth single and an error on A. Johnson’s at-bat to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch moved the runners up a base, but they never got any further.

Matthew Schwab reached deep and came back with three consecutive strikeouts to get the Falcons out of the inning.

The Falcons struck first in the contest when Castelloe dinged a solo homerun in the second inning to put BHS ahead 1-0.

A pair of walks, a single and an error opened the door for the Vikings to plate two in the top of the third and grab a 3-1.

In the bottom of the same inning, Thomas walked and scored on Chris Lawrence’s RBI-double, which cut the deficit to 3-2.

&uot;Our kids worked very hard in the off-season,&uot; Whitaker said. &uot;I hope this proves their hard work was worth it. What we do with this win now will up to us.&uot;

The coach said the key was stellar pitching by Marcus Thomas and Schwab and timely offense.

&uot;Offensively, we put the ball in play today,&uot; Whitaker said. &uot;I’ve said all along that’s what we have to do to be successful and today we did.&uot;

The Falcons, now 1-0 on the season, travel to Plymouth at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.