Jamesville 12U cruises past Chocowinity in first round

Published 6:06 pm Saturday, July 9, 2016

JAMESVILLE — Chocowinity’s 12U team had the pleasure of opening its Little Tar Heel District 7 tournament campaign against the hosting Jamesville 12U team. The Chocowinity all stars fell behind early, ultimately losing, 14-4 in five innings, to get relegated to the loser’s bracket.

Ryan Ange, Ethan Reason and Anthony Lancaster all came home in the top of the first to give Jamesville a three-run lead early on. Chocowinity was poised to bounce back in the bottom of the stanza. Jody Pierce singled to left field and Campbell Barnes drew a walk to give Chocowinity a pair of baserunners with no outs.

Jamesville neutralized the threat as Jacob Blake fanned two batters and Pierce was thrown out on a fielder’s choice to end the frame.

The defensive momentum helped Jamesville run away with the game in the second inning. Ange, Reason and Lancaster all drilled consecutive base hits through the left side of the infield, combining to plate four more runs. Billy Wrenn and Blake knocked in runs, too, helping Jamesville extend its advantage to 9-0.

“Defensively, when we had some opportunities early in the game, we booted the ball uncharacteristically,” Chocowinity coach Chris Hill said. “I thought we had a good approach going into the game, but things don’t go your way sometimes.”

Chocowinity was able to break through in the bottom of the second. Matthew Bullock took the first pitch of the frame and lifted into right field for a base hit. Brandon Clark reached on an error at shortstop and Luke Cutler singled to load the bases with no outs.

Walker Hill likes the pitch coming his way, even if it’s a bit outside the plate, and takes a cut at it. Chocowinity was able to get the bat on the ball, but oftentimes couldn’t find gaps.

Bullock scored Chocowinity’s first run when a pitch hit Kenjray Coffield. Omar Knight blooped a ball along the first-base line to push across Clark. The top of the order was due up with two outs and two runners in scoring position. Pierce stepped into the high-pressure situation and belted the ball back up the middle for two runs.

It nearly cut the deficit in half as Chocowinity trailed 9-4 after two innings. It didn’t last long, though, as Jamesville’s all stars quickly got those four runs back. They had the bases loaded with no outs when Reason belted a base-clearing double deep into left field.

Barnes responded by fanning back-to-back Jamesville batters. Chocowinity conceded one more run before Barnes induced a fly out to end the inning.

Chocowinity went down in order in the third and fifth and only sent out four batters in the fourth. The all stars managed to keep Jamesville’s offense quiet, but couldn’t close the gap any further. Jamesville notched a run in the fifth to win via the 10-run mercy rule.

Chocowinity played a strong game. Without a few key mistakes — which could be chalked up to lack of practice time recently — and a few hits in gaps, the outcome may have been different. That said, it was the Jamesville all stars that were able to roll with the punches and come out with the big, day-one win.

“We had a couple of bad rain showers the last few days, so we weren’t able to practice,” Hill said. “That was a factor. We had some kids away on vacation. It’s summer ball, so you never know what you’re going to get. They’re 11 and 12 years old, so you never know how they’re going to respond to the adversities.”