‘HAWKS HANDLE LEJEUNE: Southside earns first win in conference
Published 10:45 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016
CHOCOWINITY — Southside battled back from an early deficit to down Lejeune, 9-2, for its first 1-A Coastal Plains Conference win of the season. The Seahawks conceded two runs on a pair of hits and an error at third base, but they played six innings of shutout ball and tallied nine runs to earn the win.
With two runners in scoring position, starting pitcher Paul Radford gave up a line-drive single to centerfield that pushed both across. He recovered nicely with a strikeout to escape the inning with the bases loaded.
The bounce-back effort carried over throughout the game, too. He and the Seahawks’ defense blanked Lejeune over the course of the next six innings. Radford faced four or few batters in four of those frames. That included a sixth inning where he struck out a pair as Southside retired the visitors in order. The home side also stranded a total of eight Devil Pup runners.
“We weren’t lacking confidence, we just didn’t play those last two games (against Bear Grass and Jones Senior) very well,” said coach Kevin McRoy. “We had too many errors. Today, we had a few. We still had more than I’d like, but we didn’t have as many as the last couple of games.”
After getting scored on twice in the first, Southside found its way onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame. Dahlton O’Neal was walked and stole second shortly thereafter. He found himself in scoring position on an error at shortstop that also allowed Hunter Sparks to reach. Josh Crance plated O’Neal with a sac-fly RBI to right field.
The Seahawks scored the game winner an inning later. Leadoff batters Dylan Lewis and Chase Nobles both reached — Lewis was walked and Nobles singled to shallow centerfield. They moved into scoring position on Radford’s sac-bunt. Lewis came across on Dakota Modlin’s base hit to shallow right field. Nobles followed that same path to home plate thanks to a wild pitch.
Like their opposition, the Seahawks also left plenty on the table in the form of stranded runners. They left the bases loaded in their game-winning second inning, as well as in the fourth and sixth.
“We hit the ball a little better today until we got guys in scoring position,” McRoy said. “We stopped swinging pretty much, or we hit the ball and weren’t finding holes. It’ll come around. I’m a true believer that if you keep hitting the ball hard, it’s going to find holes sooner or later. I feel like we’ll be alright.”
All in all, Southside’s showing against the winless Devil Pups was a solid one. The Seahawks, now with three wins under their belts, travel to South Creek on Thursday for non-conference action before competing in the Northside Easter Tournament. It gives them plenty of time to iron out details that have been plaguing them early in the conference schedule.
“Hopefully, we’ll get some confidence,” McRoy said. “We play a non-conference game on Thursday and then the Easter tournament. Traditionally, we’ve been a second-half team, so hopefully we can build on this and take it into the second half of the season.”