Masten’s blast lifts Pack past Eagles

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Sun Journal staff

VANCEBORO — Will Masten will likely remember his blast for a long time.

Masten stepped in as a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh inning. The junior worked a full count, before drilling a solo shot over the fence in left field to give Washington a 3-2 lead over West Craven. Masten was mobbed by his teammates once his foot hit home plate.

The home run sparked a four-run seventh inning, pushing Washington to a 6-2 win in Tuesday’s Coastal Conference baseball game.

Washington first-year coach Matt Burnett had a feeling that Masten, who batted for Isiah Taylor as the ninth batter in the lineup, was due for a big hit.

“Will swings it really well in practice,” Burnett said. “He was due and we try to pick some spots to get him in there. When we’re trying to get our offense jump-started, it was a great spot to put him in there.

“When you go up there and go big-fly like that, it makes me look great. All the credit goes to Will. He just really battled for us and I’m really proud of him.”

West Craven coach Ryan Whitney didn’t second-guess about the way his Eagles pitched Masten.

“It was a tie game, we have the number nine guy coming off the bench and it’s (a) 3-2 (count),” Whitney said. “We’re not going to throw a breaking ball in that situation to put him on so that we have to face the top of their lineup. (Masten) adjusted and got the hit that they needed.”

Mike Hollis was the beneficiary of the big inning. The junior right-hander got the win, toiling six innings and yielding two runs. He scattered six hits while striking out four and walking two.

“Mike did a great job,” Burnett said. “We taxed our bullpen a little bit (Monday) night and Mike knew he had to come out and give us some strong work. We felt really good about what he did.”

Hatteras Brooks closed it out, striking out the final three batters he faced.

“Once we got the lead, we’re going to go to our horse and nail it down, especially since it’s in the conference,” Burnett said.

The Eagles (1-5, 0-3) took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI-single by Logan Nobles.

Washington (4-5, 2-1) responded with two runs in the fifth. Hollis slapped an RBI-single and Austin Mitchell scored on a West Craven error.

Jackson Parker’s RBI-double in the bottom half tied the game for the Eagles.

The Pack then rallied for four runs in the seventh, ignited by Masten’s blast.

Mitchell followed by drawing a walk. Will Swain beat out an infield hit and Jake Duke laced an RBI-single for a 4-2 lead. David McIver’s RBI-single pushed the lead to 5-2, before Duke scored on a balk to close out the scoring.

Collecting hits for the Pack were Swain (2-3, 2B), McIver (2-4, RBI), Masten (1-1, HR), Will Phelps (1-2, 2B), Duke (1-3, RBI) and Hollis (1-3, RBI).

The Pack plays at West Carteret on Friday.