Bears’ attack too much for the Pack
By By EUGENE L. TINKLEPAUGH, Staff Writer
Washington lost what was a close game for five innings Friday at Futrell Field against the New Bern Bears. The final score of 6-1 broke open for the Bears in the final two innings.
The Pam Pack fought hard to tie up the game 1-1 in the fourth, scoring a run off one hit.
But the game wouldn’t stay locked for long.
Losing pitcher Dean Smith gave up three big hits in the fifth inning, which brought in two scores, making the game 3-1. Relief pitcher Josh Woolard closed out the inning with a strike. He’d throw another one in New Bern’s last at-bat — giving the Bears their third out with a runner on third — but not before seeing three runners make it home.
Packing heat, Bears pitcher Nathan Healy kept Pack batters on ice in the final two innings, giving up no hits and walking none, sealing the Bears’ 6-1 victory.
Healy’s arsenal stumped Washington batters, who mustered three hits for the night.
The Bears starting pitcher was on the mound the entire game and pitched a gem, striking out six and walking none.
Smith threw two strikes and allowed seven hits, three of which came in the sixth inning.
Woolard in relief threw two strikes and allowed one hit.
New Bern took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with lead-off batter Matt Hardiman scoring before the Bears’ clean-up gent entered the box.
Hardiman was hit by a pitch on Smith’s fifth throw, three of which were balls, sending the Bears batter to first base.
Next up, Mark LeBlanc whacked the ball over the outstretched glove of Washington’s right fielder Billy Craig. His single opened the runway for Hardiman to take off and round second, landing safely at third.
Daniel Fuller’s grounder to the Pack’s shortstop resulted in the Bears’ first out at second base, but it gave Hardiman safe passage home.
The Pam Pack defense didn’t lose its cool, with two play-stoppers to end the Bears’ first inning. Zack House caught a fly foul deep down left field; and on the next play, first baseman Jeffrey Boyd rushed a grounder and ran it back to the base, beating out an oncoming Bear at full sprint.
Washington’s only score came in the fourth inning, where the pitcher’s second allowed hit of the night combined with a fielding error to set up the Pam Pack’s Trent Whitehead’s race to home plate.
Whitehead doubled with a monster hit that arced to left center field and plunged between two New Bern outfielders.
Small ball followed up by a sac fly would bring Whitehead home.
Following Whitehead’s at-bat, Austin Thompson bunted to right infield. Third baseman Hardiman charged the ball to make a play at first, but the ball rolled under his glove, enabling Whitehead to advance to third, which put runners on the corners.
Lee Watkins followed suit, bunting to advance Thompson to second. New Bern’s pitcher recovered the bunted ball and slung it to first before Watkins got there.
A sacrifice fly to right field by Billy Craig gave Hardiman the green light to come home.
The third out was at the pitcher’s hands. He threw three straight strikes that left Jeffrey Boyd swinging at air.
New Bern’s D also made big plays to keep the Pack down and out, making two textbook double plays. The first two-out-single-play performance came in the second inning off Boyd’s grounder to New Bern shortstop Daniel Fuller. Fuller tossed it to second to force out Craig, and second baseman LeBlanc then zipped it to first to send Boyd packing.
The second double play came in the final inning, this time off Craig’s slap. The ball bounced high above the mound, but only required an uptossed glove by the lanky Healy to haul it in and get it to second where Watkins was forced out. The Bears’ Austin Zare once again outthrew a Pack batter to first.
Watkins nailed a line drive past the shortstop to make it to first. But it was the last hit tallied by the Pack. After the double play, Healy outwitted Boyd for the second time, striking him out to end the game.
Washington’s next game is Tuesday at home against Havelock, and then the Pack will close its regular season on the road against West Carteret Friday.
Tuesday is senior night.
Vaughan said he expected the team’s last game of the season at Futrell Field to be a success for his six seniors.
New Bern 100 002 3 — 6 8 1
Washington 000 100 0 — 1 3 0
WP: Nathan Healy; LP: Dean Smith
Hitters: NB — Matt Hardiman 1-3 (2 runs), Matt LeBlanc 1-3 (run), Daniel Fuller 1-4 (HR, RBI), Brent Williams 3-4 (2 RBIs, run), Sam Sanders 1-3 (3B, RBI), Anthony Holloway 2-2 (run); W — Trent Whitehead 1-3 (2B, run), Lee Watkins 1-3, Billy Craig 1-3 (RBI).