Pack two-out rally in fifth falls just short against Vikings

Published 7:03 pm Friday, April 6, 2007

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Early in the game both Washington and D.H. Conley knew that a single run could mean the difference between a win or a loss. They were right.
Both the Pam Pack and the Vikings played small ball from the onset of the Thursday’s contest, but in the end the long ball helped D.H. Conley take a 6-5.
After two scoreless innings a piece, Josh Hobgood put the Vikings on the board in the top of the third when he launched a two-run home run off Pam Pack starter Dean Smith that traveled over 360-feet to left-center.
Washington answered back in the bottom of the third when Zach House led off the inning with a single off of the Vikings’ Chase Hardy. After the House hit, Brandon Thomas laid down a perfectly placed sac bunt to send House to second.
With a runner in scoring position, Trent Whitehead laced a double to center to give Washington its first run. Whitehead would score later that inning when D.H. Conley third basemen Mike Garland muffed a Jeffrey Boyd grounder.
Whitehead finished the day 2-3 with a RBI, while House led the Pack going 2-4 with two RBIs.
Washington went into the top of the fourth tied at two, and that would be the last time it was even with D.H. Conley, as the Vikings tacked on three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth.
Smith struggled in the fourth, and couldn’t catch a break either. The Washington pitcher issued a walk to Josh Hudson, and then watched Daniel Boyd go to first on a catcher’s interference call.
Both runners would end up crossing the plate. Hudson scored on an Garland RBI, while Boyd and Garland were driven home by a long double off the end of Hardy’s bat.
The Vikings exited the inning holding a 5-2 lead.
On the mound, Hardy silenced the Pack in the fourth despite, two errors from his infield which prolonged what should have been a 1-2-3 inning.
Hardy finished the game throwing all seven innings and striking out eight batters to get the win.
Smith got in more trouble in the fifth as he let up a lead off single to Will Reaves, and then two batters later surrendered a two-out single to Josh Hudson. The Hudson RBI would prove to be the game’s winning run.
Smith finished the night allowing six runs in five innings, while fanning six batters.
Pam Pack coach Darin Vaughn, credited the Vikings’ batters, and praised Smith’s improvement after the game.
Down 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Washington cut the score to 6-5 on the strength of a two-out rally and heads up base running.
Lee Watkins got the ball rolling for the Pack as he led off the inning with a single, and was followed by Austin Thompson who took first on a catcher’s interference.
Watkins and Thompson each advanced a base as they alertly ran after Hardy bounced a ball in the dirt. However, with runners on second and third and nobody out, the Pack’s four and five hitters each struck out, appearing to take the momentum with them as they walked back to the bench.
Washington revived the rally with patience as Billy Craig and David Tyson each drew walks, the second walk scoring Watkins to cut the lead to 6-3.
With the sacks packed, House stepped up to the plate and delivered a bloop infield single that easily scored Thompson, and barely scored Craig.
The alert Craig ran full steam ahead on contact, and because of his hustle and a good jump, crossed home a hair before the Conley second baseman’s throw to home to score the Pack’s final run of the game.
Washington will be back in action on Saturday at 2 p.m. when they play Wake County in Greenville.
D.H. Conley 002 310 0 — 6 8 4
Washington 002 030 0 — 5 5 1
WP: Chase Hardy; LP: Dean Smith
Hitters: D.H. — Chase Hardy 1-4 (2 RBI), Gray Compton 1-4 (R), Will Reaves 1-4 (R), Josh Hobgood 1-4 (HR, 2 RBI), Grayson Miller 1-3, Josh Hudson 2-2 (RBI), Mike Garland (1-3, RBI; W — Trent Whitehead 2-3 (2B, RBI), Lee Watkins 1-3 (R), Zach House 2-4 (2 RBI).