Washington Two struggles against Ayden-Grifton|Washington bats can't catch up to Bowden

Published 11:48 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
A strong performance by Ayden-Grifton’s recently graduated senior pitcher Austin Bowden kept the Washington Two Senior Babe Ruth team still searching for its first win of the season on Thursday as it lost 7-2 in an abbreviated six inning game.
Due to Washington High School’s graduating ceremony, the two teams started the first game of their doubleheader at 8:30 p.m., instead of their regularly scheduled time of 7 p.m.
The second game of the doubleheader ran past deadline.
Bowden demonstrated strong velocity and mixed up his pitches well in the six-inning outing, striking out eight batters and walking none, while scattering five hits.
“Their pitcher changed speeds really good,” Washington Two coach Troy Woolard said. “I credit him for doing a really good job of changing speeds; he had a really good curveball too. I just think we kind of went up there guessing a few times.”
Washington pitcher Brandon Thomas, a former Pam Pack player who is allowed to play in the league because he is under 18, looked sharp at times. Thomas allowed nine hits, struck out four batters and walked only one in six innings.
Washington jumped ahead in the bottom of the first when Josh Miller belted a double, and was brought home on the next-at bat when Thomas roped a run-scoring two-bagger.
Washington got in trouble the next inning when it made some costly errors that allowed Ayden-Grifton to tack on three runs.
In the top of the second, Thomas fanned the first two Ayden-Grifton batters he faced, but then struggled with control as he plunked one batter, then walked the next.
With two on and two out, Thomas induced a choppy grounder to short that was mishandled and allowed a run to score while extending the inning. The next batter, Cody Norris, made Washington pay by smashing a two-run double to take a 3-1 lead.
Washington tacked on another run in the fourth when Brandon Venters brought home Nick Lietz with an RBI double.
After that, Bowden clamped down and did not allow another run.
“We’re still not hitting the ball as well as we should,” Woolard said. “We just had a lack of hits and a few costly errors.”
Ayden-Grifton put the game out of reach in the top of the fifth when it rallied for four runs during an inning in which Washington committed two miscues.
Washington Two will look to rebound on Tuesday when it plays at Rocky Mount.