Pungo dethrones powerhouse LawrencePublished 1:36pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014
For the first time in over 15 years, Pungo Christian Academy walked off Lawrence Academy’s renowned baseball diamond victorious, overpowering the Warriors, 9-5.
In what head coach John Scott Cutler calls the biggest win of his career, the Raiders were tasked with knocking off the defending Tarheel Conference champion, and sent their reliable ace Cole Austin Woolard to rectify last month’s 2-0 loss.
Before the Pungo senior toed the rubber, his offense opened the game with four hits in the top of the first off starter Nicholas Holton. After junior Dalton Etheridge and sophomore Will Respess reached, Woolard helped himself with an RBI single to left. Three batters later and with two outs, teammate Marcus Williams brought Respess and Woolard home with an RBI single to right. Pungo would tack an additional run onto its lead in the second on another Woolard RBI single.
Lawrence, averaging more than six runs per contest, brings one of the NCISAA’s more dynamic offenses to the table, but Woolard kept the Raider bats moderately at bay. After retiring the side in the first, the Pungo senior followed a lead off single by drilling two Warriors, loading the bases. A batter later, outfielder Nathaniel Holton smashed a double to center that cleared the bases and narrowed the lead to one.
Through the next two frames, both pitchers showcased their best stuff. Woolard worked his way out of a jam in the third after two errors and a walk loaded the bases with one out. The crafty right-hander answered by retiring the next two batters. On the other hand, Holton sat down six Raiders in a row in the third and fourth innings, recovering from his early location troubles.
Then, in one of the most historic innings in Pungo history, the Raider bats came alive in the fifth, chalking up five runs on hits by Etheridge, Respess, Kellum Cahoon, Landon Woolard and Cole Austin Woolard, his third knock of the afternoon.
Despite scoring two runs in the final frame, Lawrence never recovered, as Woolard became the first Raider starter to pick up a win against the perennial conference powerhouse in over 15 years. He finished with seven strikeouts in seven innings, while allowing five runs on three hits and going 3-for-4 with two RBI at the plate.
Etheridge also finished with three hits.
With the win, Pungo moves to 8-5 overall and, more importantly, a 6-2-conference record. The Raiders now sit just a half game behind Lawrence in the standings, and will face Northeast Academy in Lasker on Thursday.