Eagles ‘steal’ one from Hobgood

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2012

LASKER — The Eagles of Northeast Academy literally stole a win here in Tarheel Independent Conference action Thursday afternoon from the Raiders of Hobgood Academy.

Those in attendance were treated to a tight pitcher’s duel which saw the Eagles pull off a double steal in the bottom of the sixth inning to score the game’s only run.

Luis Martinez of the Raiders and Brad Johnson of the Eagles combined to allow only three hits in the game with Johnson allowing a second inning single to Will Davis and Martinez giving up two singles — one in each of the first two innings.

Neither team could break through with any base hits after the second inning.  Control was the nemesis of Martinez as he walked seven batters and hit one.

But each time it looked like the Eagles would score, he shut the door as the Eagles stranded 10 base runners. Eight of them were left in scoring position.

Johnson kept the Raiders at bay with his one-hit performance.  He mustered only four strikeouts, but the Raider batters were kept mostly off-stride and grounded out weakly on many occasions.

Defensively, center fielder Benton Barrett helped Johnson shut the door in the top of the seventh. After a long run, he made a shoe-string catch on a short fly ball just behind second base.

The lone run scored without the benefit of a base hit. Logan Simonowich worked Martinez for a walk leading off the bottom of the sixth inning. With Johnson batting, Simonowich stole second.  Johnson then hit a ground ball towards the shortstop, who was unable to field the ball cleanly, putting runners at first and third.

Working from the stretch, Martinez faked a pick-off throw to third and whirled around to try and catch Cannon Hurdle, courtesy running for Johnson, off of first. Hurdle had broken for second base on the move to third and stopped midway to second.

Martinez then ran at Hurdle as Simonowich broke for home.  Martinez’ throw home was too late to catch Simonowich as he crossed home plate with the eventual winning run.

Eagle’s head coach, Billy Boy Bridgers said after the game, “It was ugly, but got it done. That was one heck of a pitching duel and one heck of a game.”

The Raiders fall to 1-5 on the season and 1-3 in the Tarheel Independent Conference.  The Eagles record moves to 4-1 on the season and 3-1 in the conference.