Bears blank Red Barons

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, March 26, 2013

GATESVILLE – Bryan Merritt and Eric Ortiz combined to pitch a one-hit shutout as Hertford County High School beat Gates County High School 12-0 Friday night in a non-conference baseball game.

The Bears opened the scoring with four runs in the top of the first inning. Ryan Weaver drew a base-on-balls and then stole second base. After Tyler Jones walked behind Weaver both runners stole second and third, respectively. Brandon Terry became the fourth Bear batter to draw a walk to load the bases. Merritt was next at the dish and he lashed a two-run double that scored Weaver and Jones with the first runs of the game. With Jahleel Fleetwood now running for Terry, he and Merrit scored two more runs when Ortiz doubled down the right field line. The quartet of scores gave Hertford County a 4-0 lead after a half-inning of play.

The Bears added seven more runs in the top of the second inning. Brandon Staton walked, stole second, and scored on a Jones RBI single to center field. Jones took second on the throw home and scored when Ackerman Grace singled to right field. A Terry groundout moved Grace to second and Grace scored when Merritt sent a shot over the third baseman’s outstretched glove for another run batted in and making the score 7-0. An outfield error on that same play allowed Merritt to reach third and Merritt would later score on an Austin Hurdle infield single for another Bear RBI and the game’s eighth run.

With only one out still in the second inning, and a comfortable 8-0 lead, the Hertford County hit-parade would continue. First, Ortiz and Clay Barmer drew walks to re-load the bases and Staton picked up an easy RBI when his base-on-balls allowed Hurdle to walk home.  Ortiz and Barmer would cross the dish on a two-run single that dropped into right field by Weaver and after two more outs, Hertford County led 11-0 following just an inning and a half of play.

The Bears scored their final run in the top of the third when Grace walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Grace later scored on a Hurdle RBI single to right field. This gave the Bears a 12-0 lead after three full innings.

Merritt pitched four innings for the win allowing no runs on one hit and he had five strikeouts. Ortiz relieved Merritt in the fifth allowing no runs and no hits.

The Bears totaled 11 hits and were led by Merritt who had three hits and drove in three runs. Hurdle had two hits and a couple of RBI’s. Ortiz had one hit and two runs driven in while Terry and Barmer had one hit apiece. Luke Lolies had the only hit of the night for Gates County.

Hertford County raises its record to 6-2 and return to Northeastern Coastal Conference play tonight (Tuesday) at Pasquotank in Elizabeth City with first-pitch set for 7 p.m.