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Bears capture league crown

WINDSOR – Hertford County won the Northeastern Coastal Conference here Wednesday night.

The Bears topped arch rival Bertie High School 22-6 to win the league baseball crown.

“We came out and put the bat on the ball,” HCHS Head Coach Chris Towell said. “Pryor pitched just good enough for a win and Harrell came in and shut them down.

“We accomplished one of our goals and now we are looking forward to the state playoffs,” he added.

Hertford County opened the scoring with three runs in the top of the first frame.

Tyler Burden singled to right and went to second on an error. Burden then scored on a Marvin Harrell RBI-single to left field. Daniel Merritt singled to left sending Harrell to third and then the latter scored on a Brandon Warren single. Merritt went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Tyler Pryor RBI-groundout to give the Bears a 3-0 lead.

Bertie answered with three runs of their own in the home half of the first.

Bryce Cullipher and Zeek Williams drew walks before Matthew Hoggard singled to load the bases. Hunter White was hit by a pitch, forcing Cullipher home. Malcolm Cherry then laced a two-run double to right-center field to tie the game at 3-all.

The Falcons took the lead in the bottom of the third inning.

Cherry walked before Devonte Holley singled on the infield. Cherry raced home on a Simon Hoggard RBI-single to give Bertie a 4-3 edge.

The Bears bounced back with four marks in the top of the fourth inning.

Tucker Warren doubled down the left field line and went to third on a Montario Hunter infield single. Hunter took second on a wild pitch.

Both Warren and Hunter raced home on a Burden single to right. Harrell then singled on the infield and he and Burden advanced on an error on the play. Burden scored on a Merritt RBI-groundout.

Harrell took third on a wild pitch and scored on an error on the play to give the Bears a 7-4 lead.

Bertie came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Cullipher singled to left and moved to third on a Cody White single to center. Cullipher scored on an error with White stealing second to trim the deficit to 7-5.

White went to third on a Hoggard infield single and scored on a wild pitch.

Hunter White walked and Cherry singled to load the bases, but Harrell came in for the Bears and struck out two straight to end the inning with HCHS ahead 7-6.

Hertford County added to its lead with four runs in the top of the fifth stanza.

Mitchell Godwin walked and courtesy runner Anthony Fitzhugh moved to second on a Tucker Warren single to left. Brandon Staton then walked to load the bases.

Fitzhugh scored on a Burden sacrifice fly and Warren scored on a wild pitch. Harrell then drew a walk. Staton and Harrell advanced on a wild pitch and then Merritt laced a two-run single to center to give the Bears an 11-6 lead.

Hertford County broke the game open in the top of the sixth inning when 11 runs crossed the plate. The inning was highlighted by a three-run homer by Montario Hunter.

The game ended when the Falcons didn’t score in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Pryor pitched three and one-third innings for the win. He raised his record to 6-2. Harrell tossed the final two and two-thirds of an inning. Cullipher, Williams, Cody White and Simon Hoggard all pitched for the Falcons.

The Bears had 20 hits during the game. Tucker Warren and Daniel Merritt had four hits each and Merritt added four RBIs. Hunter and Burden added three hits and four RBIs while Brandon Warren had three hits and two RBIs.

Bertie recorded nine led by Cherry who had two hits and two RBIs. Matthew Hoggard also had two hits.

Hertford County is 17-5 overall and finish 10-2 in the league. Bertie closed out the season 2-22 and 0-12.