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HCHS hosts historic baseball game

AHOSKIE – Ten years have passed since Hertford County has put a baseball team in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 3-A playoffs.

In 1994 Daryl Bryant led the Bears to the Eastern Championship and a berth in the NCHSAA finals. Since that time only one team – Brandon Hodges’ 2003 Bears team that was 17-5 – has come close to getting the Bears back to the post season.

Tuesday night therefore was a historic event for HCHS as Chris Towell’s club hosted a playoff game for the first time in more than a decade.

Despite that success, the Bears came up short as South Central beat Hertford County 15-1 to advance to the second round of the state playoffs.

&uot;South Central is probably the best team we have played all year,&uot; Towell said. &uot;We just didn’t make the plays in this game.

&uot;We lose three seniors – Andy Thompson, William Barmer and Clifton Smallwood – but this was a great experience to make the state playoffs with this young team,&uot; he added. &uot;Hopefully, we can build on this.&uot;

South Central opened the scoring with one run in the top of the first on an RBI-groundout by Brandon Brown.

The Falcons added four in the top of the second on a Bryant Cooke RBI-single, a Brown two-run double and an Edward Greene RBI-single that gave South Central a 5-0 advantage after two innings.

John Conway had an RBI-double in the third to push South Central’s lead to 6-0.

HCHS scored their only run in the bottom of the fourth frame when Ryan Matthews doubled to left to record the Bears’ only hit of the game. Matthews went to third on a Ryan Simmons groundout and scored on a William Barber RBI-groundout to cut the lead to 6-1.

The Falcons added three in the top of the fifth, scoring on a Ryan Brenner RBI-single and a two-run homer by Conway to go up 9-1.

The Bears’ final threat came in the bottom of the fifth when they loaded the bases with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning with the score the same.

South Central scored the final six runs of the game in the top of the sixth stanza.

Thompson pitched four and one-third innings for the Bears, suffering the loss. Heath Britt pitched the final one and two-thirds innings.

Stephen Lausey pitched four innings for the win for the Falcons.

HCHS finished the season 5-17.