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Bertie battles back

WINDSOR – Keep fighting.

That message has been sent all season by Bertie High School Baseball Coach Randy Whitaker. His team obviously took it to heart Thursday.

The Falcons fell behind 5-0 to visiting Tarboro, but battled back to defeat the Vikings 9-8 in eight innings.

“I was pleased we came out with a good attitude,” Whitaker said. “We had a very hard practice on Wednesday and when we came out Thursday, we were ready to play ball.

“Give Tarboro credit, they came out and swung the bats very well in the first two innings,” he continued. “My guys never quit. They kept fighting.”

Trialing by five heading into the bottom of the third, the Falcons plated four runs to get back in the game.

Charlie Castelloe led off the inning with a walk, went to second on a passed ball and scored when O.J. Dobbin reached on an error.

P.J. Schwab then singled and took second on the throw as Dobbin scored. Aaron Hoggard then delivered an RBI-double. He was followed by an RBI-single by Scott Hoggard that made it 5-4.

Tarboro put three runs across in the fourth frame to take an 8-4 lead, but Bertie again rolled back.

Freshman Zeke Williams singled before Castelloe reached on an error. Brent Bowen then singled home Williams before Castelloe scored on a single by Dobbin.

Bowen made the third run of the inning when he scored on a fielder’s choice with Schwab at bat.

Ethan Boller, a courtesy runner for Schwab, scored on an RBI single by Scott Hoggard that deadlocked the score at 8-all.

Whitaker turned the ball over to Aaron Hoggard in the fifth inning and he held the Vikings scoreless the rest of the way.

Bertie finally broke the stalemate when Schwab and Aaron Hoggard recorded back-to-back singles in the eighth. Boller, again running for Schwab, scored on Scott Hoggard’s RBI-single to give Bertie the win.

Aaron Hoggard led the Falcons at the plate with a 3-for-4 day that included two RBIs and a double. Scott Hoggard was 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Bowen, Dobbin and Williams also had hits for Bertie. Castelloe was 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and two runs scores.

Aaron Hoggard pitched four scoreless innings while surrendering just two hits and striking out four. Bo Ledford went one inning and allowed three unearned runs while striking out one.

Williams started the game and allowed five earned runs on six hits.

“Zeke made his first start and was a little nervous, but by the third inning he had settled down and didn’t allow any runs,” Whitaker said.

The win boosted Bertie to 4-4 on the season as they had into a three-game set inside the Northeastern Coastal Conference next week. They start Monday with Northeastern High School at 7 p.m.

“We hit the ball very well with runners on base and we haven’t done that before,” Whitaker said. “The guys kept their heads in the game and their attitude was very good.

“Last night is a good example of us playing as a team,” he closed.