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Seahawks take down Washington County for third-straight victory

CHOCOWINITY — Southside cruised to a comfortable 11-0 victory in five innings over Washington County last night, stifling the Panthers’ bats with steady pitching and solid defensive work in the field, while also benefitting from wayward pitching by the visitors. The Seahawks are now riding a three-game win streak after starting off the season with two-consecutive double-digit losses.

“Overall, we played well. I thought we could’ve played better,” Southside head coach Kevin McRoy said. “We’ve been playing the last few games with a little bit of confidence; we’ve been taking care of some business. I don’t feel like we played our best game today (yesterday), (but) we still put out a good showing.”

While the Seahawks (3-2, 1-0 1A Coastal Plains Conference) didn’t necessarily hit the ball all that well, coming up with four hits in 17 at-bats, it proved to not matter all that much. Washington County’s (0-2 1A Albemarle Conference) pitchers issued five walks and hit six Seahawk batters throughout the game, leading to the majority of Southside’s run production.

Where the Seahawks did show well was in the field and on the mound. Freshman Bryan Gutierrez made his first start, and appearance, as a pitcher, showing promise moving forward. Gutierrez pitched the first four innings, holding the Panthers to a single hit, while striking out eight batters and handing out two walks.

“Bryan on the mound, it was his first time pitching. He’s a freshman, he came in, pounded the strike zone,” McRoy said. “He wasn’t throwing anything special, but he was locating and hitting the zone all day. Defensively, when they (the Panthers) put the bat on the ball, we made a play.”

After getting through the top of the first, the Seahawks went ahead and built a nine-run lead. After Dylan Humbles led off by reaching first on an error, Will Warren dropped a single in front of the diving Washington County centerfielder, giving the Seahawks runners on the corners. A passed ball allowed Humbles to score, while Warren advanced to third.

After a walk, a wild pitch allowed Warren to cross home plate. Hundley Stallings followed with an RBI-single past the Panthers’ shortstop, making the score 3-0. Washington County’s pitching then hit a rough patch, as three consecutive hit batters loaded the bases, brought a run home for Southside and prompted a pitching change.

The change in pitchers didn’t pay immediate dividends for the Panthers, as Campbell Barnes welcomed the new pitcher by belting a two-run double for two of his game-high three RBIs. With runners on second and third, two hit batters, a walk and a wild pitch gave the Seahawks three more runs and a 9-0 lead through an inning of play. Southside tacked on a run in the second and fourth innings to reach the final score. Stallings relived Gutierrez on the mound in the fifth, striking out two Panthers in his inning of work.

Barnes also led the Seahawks with two hits to go along with his RBI’s, while Warren and Stallings each had one base hit. Warren and Stallings both also chipped in with an RBI, with David Porter and Noah Squires doing likewise.

After opening the season with a pair of losses to North Pitt by a combined score of 23-3, the Seahawks have bounced back with three wins by a combined score of 30-0. McRoy credits his team’s blend of senior leadership and youthful exuberance for the quick and drastic turnaround.

“We’ve got a good balance of some experience, some leadership, some seniors that are leaders, and then we’ve got some good talent as freshmen too,” McRoy said. “I think it’s just showing that we’ve got some leaders that are taking some charge and some guys that are wanting to be successful. They’ve put their mind on what they want to accomplish, and they’re just going for it.”