Washington outscored 22-1 in Pitt County Classic doubleheader

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, April 22, 2014



The Washington baseball team stepped onto the diamond at J.H. Rose Monday to face Class 4-A Southern Wayne and Class 3-A West Craven in the Pitt County Classic Easter Tournament.

Just one year removed from the 3-A Costal Conference, the Pam Pack left their motivation and intensity at home, as the team was embarrassed by the Saints in the first game and their old conference foe, West Craven, in the second. In both contests, Washington fell via the 10-run mercy rule and were outscored 22-1.

Head coach Ryan Whitney decided to go with his young spot starter, Chase Hartley, to counter Southern Wayne senior Nathan Bartwick, making his first start of the season.

In the first inning, Washington attacked Bartwick early in the counts, as junior Patrick Thompson and sophomore Neil Jennings smashed back-to-back singles with one out. A batter later, Jamond Ebron reached on a ball out of the zone with a 3-1 count, grounding into a methodically turned 4-6-3 double play. While Washington failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position, Southern Wayne took advantage of an early defensive blunder with a quick run.

Harley’s day ended early in the second after the Saints chalked up four runs on two hits and two untimely Pam Pack errors. After Thompson scored in the following frame on an RBI-single from Jennings, Washington left the bases loaded after Matt Dixon grounded out to third. Thompson would be the only player to cross home plate for Washington on the evening.

Through the final three frames, the Pam Pack offense combined for just two hits, both fifth-inning singles by Trey Brunson and Jennings.

The Saints tallied a run in each of the six innings, posting three in the third, including a two-run homer by Drake Shaw off lefty Grayson Gruninger, and one in the fourth, fifth and sixth to end the contest prematurely.

In the second game of the doubleheader against West Craven, Washington picked up right where they left off.

Even with Eagles starter Noah Lewis succumbing to control problems, walking three batters and throwing upwards of 30 pitches through the first two innings, the Pack failed to ignite the offensive spark.

Washington’s Thompson, who has been one of the premier talents on Whitney’s roster this season, had his poorest outing to date. The junior right-hander’s slider hung in the zone and his fastball seemed flat out of the hand. West Craven capitalized accordingly with five runs on two hits and two costly errors by the infield.

A walk, a hit batter and a single were all Whitney needed to see to pull his ace just one out into the second inning. With an elongated rest period due to spring break this week, Washington’s No. 2, Zach Parker, relived Thompson to try to stop the bleeding. A fielder’s choice and a close play at the plate cut down what would have been the fourth run of the inning, as Parker worked his way out of a jam.

However, the Eagles opened up for four hits and three runs, all earned, off Parker in the third, expanding the lead to 11-0.

For the remainder of the game, Washington’s offense was silenced by West Craven’s dynamic pitching.

Despite the tough day for both the rotation and the lineup, Jennings finished 4-for-5 with a walk.

“He just keeps killing it,” Whitney said. “He’s putting good swings on balls and does a great job of making adjustments pitch-to-pitch in each at bat.”

With the loss, the Pam Pack move to 2-12 (1-5 Eastern Plains) with four conference games left on the schedule.

“These next few days are going to be a good opportunity for myself and for the players to kind of recharge a little bit,” Whitney said. “We need to come back and understand that today is not that team that we are, win or lose. The way that happened … we’re a lot better than what we showed today.

“In the end, we still have an opportunity at playoffs if we put it together over the last couple of weeks. We just have to keep pounding that positive mentality of the fact that we still have an opportunity.”

Following spring break, Washington will host Southwest Edgecombe Tuesday, April 29.