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SHALLOTTE—West Brunswick used stingers, dribblers and bunts—not to mention alert base-running—to trounce league-leading Hoggard 10-1 Friday night.
The win pulls the Trojans within one game of Hoggard and Laney, tied for first in the Mideastern Conference standings.
West pounded 10 hits in the first three innings, and yet, only three of those 10 made it out of the infield. The Vikings got a glove on and were able to knock down several balls, but by the time they picked up the ball, Trojan base-runners were safely on base.
West led 7-1 after three innings and ended up notching 15 hits against three Hoggard pitchers.
“We came out focused,” West coach Mike Alderson said. “Ethan Cox pitched another great game. We got him some runs early, and he was able to relax.”
Cox, a left-hander, threw a 3-hitter and went the distance.
“The Cox kid beat us the last time,” Hoggard coach Jeep St. Ledger said.
West, 13-6 overall, is the only team in the conference to beat Hoggard, 14-3, this season, and the Trojans have done it twice.
“They just flat kicked our behinds,” St. Ledger said. “The way the wind was blowing, we told our guys, ‘You have to hit on top of the ball and try and make line drives and ground balls.’ But we were hitting fly balls. They (the Trojans) did exactly what they had to do. They adjusted, and we didn’t.”
Evan Ponds went 3-for-4 at the plate for the winners.
“It was a team game—we all jelled together, unlike the last two games,” Ponds said.
West had lost two one-run games the previous weekend to drop out of the conference lead.
“Tonight, everybody was paying attention to the game,” Ponds said.
He had lots of company on the hitting charts. Ryan Hill, twins Pat and Wally Kamfolt, clean-up batter Josh Powell and Logan Tripp each had two hits.
“We needed this game real bad,” Alderson said. “Tonight, we didn’t say ‘Trojans.’ When we broke huddle, we said, ‘Focus.’ We focused for seven innings, and good things happened.”
The Vikings scored their only run in the opening frame when Nick Malter reached first on a dropped outfield fly and came home on David Coleman’s hit to right field.
West answered in its first turn at bat when Pat Kamfolt singled, advanced to second, stole third and came home on a passed ball to knot the score at 1-1.
The Trojans added two more runs in the second inning on four infield hits. Tripp led off with a single, and Ponds’ stinger was deflected by Hoggard pitcher Scott Coleman, but the ball dribbled past the pitcher, and Ponds soon stood safely on first. Then Seth Roberts singled, Hill slapped a ball that hugged the third-base line, and he sped safely to first as West took a 3-1 lead.
The Trojans worked the Vikings’ infielders again—and one outfielder—in the third inning. Wally Kamfolt led off with a bunt. The Hoggard shortstop charged the ball and barehanded it, but Kamfolt beat out the throw to first.
Powell then drilled a hit to center field, Tripp laid down a perfect bunt between the Hoggard pitcher and third baseman, and when the Hoggard pitcher picked up the ball, no one was covering third.
So the bases were loaded when Joey Granados blasted a 2-RBI single up the middle. It was West’s fourth single in a row.
The Hoggard center fielder scooped up the ball, but his throw to home was late, and that let West put two runners on second and third. Ponds then smacked a shot to left field to drive in Tripp, and Roberts notched another RBI before Hoggard brought in pitcher Derek Thackston. He got the Vikings out of the inning, but they were down six runs.
Wally Kamfolt led off the fourth hitting a ball that dribbled down the third-base line while he zipped to first base, Powell singled to right-center field, Granados was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Kamfolt scored on a fielder's choice.
In the fifth, Pat Kamfolt doubled off the left-field fence—West’s longest hit of the night. Wally Kamfolt hit a grounder to the Hoggard third baseman, and his throw to first was high and pulled the first baseman off the bag. He tried to tag Wally Kamfolt, but Wally dived safely into first while his brother Pat scored. West led 9-1.
A bizarre play happened in the sixth inning. Hoggard’s Scott Coleman hit a high fly to deep right field. The ball came down literally on top of the fence, bounced straight up and West’s Roberts caught it in the air. Some players thought the batter was out, and therefore the ball was slow coming back in the infield, but Coleman, who kept running, in fact, had a triple.
However, he was stranded as Cox, 5-0 this season, struck out the next batter swinging.
West, which scored in every inning, added a final run in the sixth on base hits by Ponds and Hill.
The Trojans are now 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the conference. The Vikings are 14-3 overall and, along with Laney, 5-2 in the conference.
St. Ledger said, “It’s really a logjam.”
H 100 000 0--1 3 2
WB 124 111 x--10 15 2
WP: Cox LP: S. Coleman
Leading hitters: H—S. Coleman 2-for-3 (3B). WB—Powell 2-for-2, Ponds 3-for-4, Tripp 2-for-3, P. Kamfolt 2-for-4 (2B), Granados 1-for-2, Hill 2-for-5, W. Kamfolt 2-for-5.
Sarah Sue Ingram is interim sports editor at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org