Bears secure share of league crown

Published 9:19 am Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WINDSOR – Travis Ellis pitched a six-hitter here Friday as Hertford County High School defeated Bertie 10-4.

The Northeastern Coastal Conference baseball victory lifted the Bears into a three-way tie atop the league standings and to a share of the conference championship.

“We came out tonight and took control,” said HCHS baseball boss Chris Towell. “We had no letdown from Thursday (a 10-inning win over Currituck). We took advantage of what Bertie gave us, got some key hits and Travis pitched a great game for us.

“Now, we have to get ready for the state playoffs,” he added.

While the Bears came out on top, it was the Falcons who got on the board first.

Zeek Williams doubled down the left field line and then went to third when Simon Hoggard got aboard via an error. Dakota Young’s sacrifice fly plated Williams to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead after one inning.

Hertford County bounced back with four runs in the top of the second stanza.

Mitchell Godwin walked and gave way to courtesy runner Tyler Burden. Monterio Hunter and Grayson Toms also drew walks, loading the bases.

Burden scored when Ellis reached on an error and then Hunter scored on an RBI-fielder’s choice by Richard Burns. Toms and Burns scored when Daniel Merritt got aboard via an error. Merritt was thrown out at second on the play to end the inning with the Bears ahead 4-1.

The Bears added to their lead in the third inning.

Brandon Warren walked and then scored moments later on a Godwin RBI-double to right-centerfield. Burden (running again for Godwin) scored on a Tyler Pryor RBI-single to right. After Hunter walked, Pryor was thrown out at third when Toms reached on a fielder’s choice.

Hunter scored on an Ellis RBI-single to left to make it 7-1 in favor of the Bears.

HCHS added two more marks in the fourth. Merritt singled to left, Edward Joyner Walked and Warren reached on an error to load the bases. Merritt scored on a Godwin RBI-groundout and Joyner scored on a sacrifice fly by Pryor to make it 9-1.

The final run for Hertford County came in the top of the sixth inning.

Pryor singled to right and then Burden (again a courtesy runner) went to second on a Toms groundout. Burden scored when Burns reached on an error to establish the 10-1 lead.

Bertie battled back to plate three runs in the bottom of the sixth stanza.

Kyle Hughes singled to left and advanced to second and third on a pair of wild pitches. Joseph Eure then drew a walk.

Cody White plated Hughes on an RBI-single. Eure then scored on a wild pickoff throw by second which sent White to third. White scored on a Chris Perry RBI-single to trim the deficit to 10-4.

That was the last scoring in the game.

Ellis pitched all seven innings for HCHS, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out one. Young pitched three innings for the Falcons and suffered the loss. Williams pitched the final four innings.

Pryor had two hits to lead the Bear offensively while Williams went 3-for-3 to lead Bertie.

“We came out flat,” Bertie skipper Randy Whitaker said. “We weren’t ready to play. Hertford County jumped on us early.

“We tried to make a comeback, but it wasn’t enough,” he added. “We fought hard. We just have to try to get better.”

The Falcons finished 3-19 overall and 0-12 in the league.

Hertford County improved to 14-8 overall and 8-4 in the conference, good enough for a tie with Northeastern High School and First Flight High School for first place in the conference.

They also secured the number one 3-A seed from the league and will host Washington High School at 7 p.m. Friday in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs.