Grace hurls HCHS past Bertie

Published 7:27 pm Monday, April 2, 2012

AHOSKIE – Ackerman Grace pitched a three-hit shutout to lead Hertford County High School past rival Bertie High Friday night.

In addition to Grace’s performance on the mound, the Bears got a three-hit, four-RBI performance from Tyler Burden as they secured the 12-0 win in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.

HCHS opened the scoring with five runs in the bottom of the first frame.

Burden led off with a homerun to center, his fourth of the season. Marvin Harrell then matched the feat with a solo shot to left.

Grace followed with a walk and stole second before scoring on a Tucker Warren RBI-single to center. Warren also stole second and then went to third on an error. Ryan Weaver walked and stole second.

Warren scored when Brock Merritt reached on an error and Weaver scored on a  Brandon Terry sacrifice fly to make it 5-0.

The Bears added five more two innings later.

Weaver and Eric Ortiz each drew walks and Bobby Merritt was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Burden delivered Weaver and Ortiz with a two-run single to center. On a wild throw by third on that play, Merritt scored. Burden took third on the error and scored on a wild pitch.

Harrell then singled to left and stole second and third. He scored on wild pitch to make it 10-0.

The Bears had their final two runs in the bottom of the fourth frame.

Terry walked and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a Darius Macklin RBI-double to center. Burden plated Macklin on a double of his own to make it 12-0.

In the top of the fifth, David Watford singled for Bertie with two outs. He then stole second, but a strikeout ended the game.

“Ackerman Grace pitched a great game for us,” HCHS skipper Chris Towell said. “He kept the ball down and we made the plays behind him.

“We jumped on them with five runs in the first inning and that was important,” he added. “We have big games this week at Currituck, Northeastern and Edenton.”

Grace tossed all five innings for the win, allowing no runs and just three hits while striking out six.

Alex Harmon pitched three innings for the Falcons and Watford was on the mound for the final inning.

The Bears had eight hits led by Burden. Harrell added two while Grace, Warren and Macklin each had one. Watford, Chris Johnson and Javier Pagola had Bertie’s hits.

“They put us in an early hole with their five runs in the first,” veteran Bertie baseball boss Randy Whitaker said. “We kept battling and are trying to improve. We have a lot of young kids who are getting experience. In a couple of years, it will pay off.”

Hertford County improved to 8-2 overall and 3-1 in the league. Bertie dropped to 2-11 and 1-5.