Fight to the finish

Published 5:49 pm Thursday, July 21, 2011

Washington pitcher Brandon Cherry (center) receives a throw from catcher Forrest Hawkins (not pictured) and tags out East Wake’s Logan Jones after Jones attempted to steal home on a wild pitch in the third inning of the Pam Pack’s 8-7 win on Wednesday at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Washington ended its CCSSL season in style as it clawed back from a three-run, seventh inning deficit to pull out an 8-7 win over East Wake on Wednesday.
Down 7-4, the Pam Pack led off the inning with a strikeout before Austin Mitchell, Devon Van Cura, Will Swain and Will Phelps each drew walks, with the last one cutting the Warriors’ lead to 7-5.
Washington picked up another run when Van Cura alertly stole home on a wild pitch. The Pack would tie the contest when East Walk could not handle a Forrest Hawkins grounder, allowing a run to score.
After the miscue, the Warriors intentionally walked Will Masten to load the bases with one out, and brought the infield in as Ryan Hardison stepped into the batter’s box. Their strategy almost worked, but Hardison smoked a line drive that the East Wake third baseman could not handle, allowing Swain to score the winning run.
The victory allowed Washington (7-9) to end CCSSL play on a positive note, which was something that did not seem likely only a week ago when it was in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
At the start of the week head coach Matt Burnett encouraged his team to finish the schedule strong, and the team responded as it went 3-for-3 down the stretch with a blowout sandwiched between two come from behind victories.
“These guys accepted the challenge we laid out in front of them,” Burnett said. “Baseball is a game that doesn’t build character it, reveals it. We started to really come together at the end of the summer and that’s what this is all about.
“This whole summer program is about trying to find what parts we can plug in and seeing what kind of character we have as a team. And this team has that dirt-dog mentality that we’re never out of a ballgame and we’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
As has been the trend this summer, Washington got off to a slow start and quickly fell behind 3-0 thanks to three first inning errors.
Washington pitcher Brandon Cherry got the start and threw three innings, giving up five runs on four hits while striking out two.
Cherry almost let up a fourth run, as Wake’s Logan Jones, who was stationed at third base, attempted to steal home on a wild pitch but was gunned down as catcher Forrest Hawkins recovered the ball and threw it to Cherry who applied the tag in time to nab Jones.
Patrick Thompson followed Cherry and tossed the next three innings as he allowed two runs on five hits while whiffing three.
The Pam Pack bats picked up in the third when the team produced three runs with a two-out rally as Dustin Moore, Phelps and Hawkins each drove in runs.
Washington added another run in the sixth Swain scored on a Masten sac fly.
Masten, who took the hill at the start of the seventh, pitched a scoreless inning to get the win.

East Wake    302    101    0    —    7    9    2
Washington    003    001    4    8    10    4
WP: Will Masten; LP: Logan Jones
Hitting: EW – Logan Jones 2-3 (3B, RBI), Christian Neal 1-3, Bryan Parker 1-4 (RBI), Austin Dickens 1-4 (RBI), Paschal Ammons 1-2, Cody Alphin 2-3 (HR, 2 RBI), Joe Edwards 1-2, Antonio Diaz Deleon 1-3; W – Austin Mitchell 1-3, Dustin Moore 1-3 (RBI, R), Will Swain 2-3 (2 R), Will Phelps 2-3 (2 RBI), Forrest Hawkins 1-4 (RBI), Will Masten 1-3, Ryan Hardison 1-3 (2 RBI), Avery Woolard1-3.