Pack loses in a game where everybody wins

Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Riverside coach Hank Tice (left) greets his mother Linda on the field after she threw out the first pitch before the Knights played the Pam Pack on Wednesday. All the proceeds from the game went to Relay for Life, an organization that helps fight cancer. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

WILLIAMSTON — On Wednesday wins and losses were put to the side momentarily as Washington and Riverside participated in the Relay for Life Play for a Cure contest, a midseason non-conference game in which all the proceeds went towards fighting cancer.
On Wednesday both teams sported pink as an added gesture, and before the contest got underway, Linda Tice, cancer survivor and mother of Riverside coach Hank Tice, threw out the first pitch in a touching ceremony.
“It was special, she’s the backbone of my family and donates a lot of time to this program,” Tice said of his mother. “It was something I wanted her to do and I hope people will respect it and appreciate it. There were a lot of people we could have chose, cancer has affected a lot of people in Eastern North Carolina.”
Afterwards, Tice’s team would put the finishing touches on the afternoon with a 5-1 win over Washington.
Pam Pack coach Ryan Whitley said he was happy to join forces in the fight against cancer.
“It was well done,” Whitley said of the afternoon. “It was a good idea and it was a special thing to be a part of. I thought it was very classy.”
In a game that took on more of an exhibition-type vibe, Riverside (9-11) was able to give junior catcher Matt Wisniewski his first start of the season on the mound and he did not disappoint as he struck out three and walked two while allowing only three hits in five innings of work to get the win.
“He’s got a chance to be a part of our future,” Tice said. “He’s an unbelievable catcher, but his arm strength has gotten better. He’s pitched all through little league and he’s a guy we’re looking to build our program around next year.”
Pam Pack starter Christian Lambert pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed five runs and eight hits in a losing effort. The Washington (6-13) lineup didn’t give him much support. Will Swain led the Pack by going 2-3, while Jordan Moore and David McIver had a hit each.
Moore scored the Pack’s only run of the game after he singled to reach base and crossed home when Riverside failed to haul in a Swain pop up to left in the seventh.
Riverside scored a run in the first, second and third innings before adding two in the fourth.
Matt Ange scored the Knights first run when pinch-runner Will Gurganus forced a run down and landed safely at second after Ange crossed home.
Ryan Bird hit an RBI double in the second to drive in the team’s second run, while a Ryan White base hit produced the team’s third run in the third.
In the fourth, Caleb Whitely scored on a wild pitch and Ange hit an RBI single to finish off the scoring.
After the game, Whitney said he disappointed with the Pack’s performance.
“I’m disappointed with the loss, but we can handle those. I’m disappointed with the way we played, or I should say the way that we didn’t,” Whitney said. “I just felt like emotionally they weren’t involved in the game and I don’t know if that’s because of the situation of today’s game, but that’s a shame because this is a great cause and a game like this should actually drive you to play harder.”
One bright spot for the Pack was the play of freshman Patrick Thompson who came in for relief of Lambert and struck out six and allowed zero runs in 2 1/3 innings.
“I thought he looked good,” Whitney said. “We have been trying to bring him along slowly … he definitely has a ton of ability and we’re excited to have him in the program.”

Washington    000     000    1    —    1    3    2
Riverside    111     200    X    5     — 5    8    1
WP: Matt Wisniewski; LP: Christian Lambert
Hitting: R — Caleb Whitley 2-2 (R, 2B), Lawrence Smith 1-4 (RBI), Will Gurganus 1-1, Ryan Wagner 1-3, Ryan White 1-3 (RBI), Zack Howell 1-2, Ryan Bird 1-3 (2B, RBI); W — Will Swain 2-5 (2B), David McIver 1-3, Jordan Moore 1-3.