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Washington surges past Ayden-Grifton take conference lead

By MITCHELL THOMAS

For the Daily News

WASHINGTON — Friday night’s showdown between the top two teams of the 2A Eastern Carolina Conference looked like it was going to be a slugfest, but turned into a pitchers’ duel, as Washington prevailed at home over Ayden-Grifton, 5-2, and pulled ahead of the Chargers in the league standings by half a game.

It took both starting pitchers an inning to get into a groove, as Washington (11-4, 7-2 2A ECC) and Ayden-Grifton (11-6, 6-2 2A ECC) combined to score four runs in the opening stanza. Washington’s Hunter Hall gave up three singles and a walk in the first inning to plate Ayden Grifton’s only two runs of the ballgame. Hall went on to pitch 4.2 innings, striking out eight batters while giving up two earned runs on five hits.

“We’ve asked a lot from (Hall) this year. He’s been there all year for us. I couldn’t be anymore prouder of Hunter.” Washington head coach Kevin Leggett said. “We made some bad base-running mistakes tonight that could’ve cost us, because (Ayden-Grifton) is a good hitting team. But our defense stepped up tonight.”

In the bottom of the first frame, the Pam Pack’s Logan Everette started a two-out rally with a single. Following his base hit, Hall walked, while Jeremiah Moore and Robert Pollock both RBI-singles to bring Everette and Hall home, tying the game at 2-2.

“We already knew what the catcher was gonna throw because we had a runner on second, I just had to sit back and wait on it.” Moore said. “We gotta do this every night. We knew we had to step up big time tonight and we did it.”

After Mason Weaver drove home Hayden Anderson with a single in the second inning to take the lead, he came up big in the game’s turning point.

Weaver inherited a bases loaded, two-out jam in the fifth inning after Hall walked the bases loaded. Undaunted by the situation, Weaver struck out the batter and went on to finish the game and earn the save. He collected four strikeouts and surrendered only one hit and a walk in 2.1 innings of work.

“Had to keep pounding strikes.” Weaver said. “My biggest thing is throwing strikes. Usually my ball moves enough to get ground balls. So as long we keep playing good defense, we can win every game.”

Already leading 3-2, the Pam Pack threatened again in the bottom of the fifth inning. Weaver reached on a passed ball third strike, Everette walked and Hall roped a single into left field to score Weaver. Ayden-Grifton’s left fielder let the ball get by him on the play, allowing Everette to score and give Washington a 5-2 lead.

With runners on first and second, Pollock grounded out to the shortstop, who threw it on to second and first to get both outs, then proceeded to throw home and cut down Hall to complete the 6-4-3-2 triple play.

Washington will travel to Deep Run tonight to take on South Lenoir (4-8, 2-7 2A ECC). First pitch is set for 7 p.m.