Published 9:31 am Thursday, April 4, 2013
ROBERSONVILLE – Ackerman Grace hurled a two-hit shutout and added 4 RBI with his bat-play at the plate as Hertford County High topped Northside High School 12-0 to win the championship of the South Creek Easter Tournament here Tuesday afternoon.
Scoreless thru the first two innings Hertford County opened the scoring with four runs in the bottom of the third. Clay Barmer opened with an infield single and Ryan Weaver walked. Both moved up one base into scoring position after a wild pitch. Barmer then scored on Tyler Jones’ RBI squeeze bunt. Weaver took third on the successful tap and scored on a Grace RBI double into the gap in right centerfield. Bryan Merritt and Tucker Warren then got back-to-back walked to load the bases. Grace would score when Brandon Terry was hit by a pitch for one RBI and Merritt scored on Austin Hurdle’s run-scoring single to left field giving the Bears a 4-0 advantage after three full innings of play.
Hertford County’s defense then shone thru in the top of the fourth when Northside had a runner on second base with two out. On a single to left, Bears leftfielder, Merritt, threw a perfect strike to home plate when Terry, the catcher, applied the tag for the out to end the inning and maintain the four-run lead.
The Bears scored eight more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Eric Ortiz opened with an infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Weaver followed and with a shot to centerfield, singling Ortiz to third before Jones walked to load the bases. Grace then cleared the sacks with a three-run double that rolled all the way to the wall in left centerfield scoring Ortiz, Weaver, and Jones. Grace would later score on a Merritt RBI double to center. Warren then continued the hit parade with a two-run home run over the left centerfield fence.
And the offense continued. Jartavis Beverly reached first on a fielder’s choice. Dylan Waterfield then had an infield single and Ortiz walked to load the bases with Bears once again. Beverly scored as Weaver was hit by a pitch for one RBI and Waterfield touched home plate when Jones ripped an RBI sacrifice groundout. The eight runs put the Bears up by a dozen, 12-0, after four innings of baseball.
In the top of the fifth inning, Grace struck out the final two batters he faced to end the game. He pitched five innings for the win allowing no runs on two hits and struck out eight to raise his record on the mound to 4-1.
Hertford County had 10 hits led by Grace with a pair while driving in four runs. Weaver had two hits and one RBI and Warren added his two-run home run.
“We’re happy to win this tournament,” said Bears coach Chris Towell. “We got good pitching from Ackerman and we played solid defense. We had a slow start, but we picked it up in the third and fourth innings.
“We also got some really big hits today,” he added.
Herford County improves to 11-2 and will play Currituck County at home Tuesday in Ahoskie at 7 p.m. as the Bears return to Northeastern Coastal Conference play.