By Stan Veitch/Sports Correspondent
When a high school baseball team is playing all three phases – offense, defense and pitching – of the game well, that squad is hard to beat.
Such is the case right now with Hokes Bluff, which improved to 7-1 on the young season with a 7-1 victory over county rival Gaston on Tuesday (March 8).
The visiting Bulldogs (2-6) scored the game’s first run on an odd sequence in the third inning. Kameron Hawkins reached base on an Eagles error and went to third on a Jesse Samples single.
After Samples stole second, Alexander Allan flew out to center, scoring Hawkins. Samples attempted to reach third base but was thrown out to end the inning.
“Other than that inning, we had some trouble with our sticks,” Gaston coach Jesse Pruitt said. “Both teams threw a lot of strikes, so if we weren’t hitting, it was our fault.”
Gaston finished with only three baserunners on two singles. In the second inning, Bryant Allen hit a double down the third base line.
“That was a pretty good game for us,” Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Robertson said. “We didn’t do much against (Gaston starting pitcher Kameron) Hawkins the first time through, but we got his timing down for the second time.”
Going through the order the first time, the Eagles managed only two singles and a Carson Eubanks double. But as the batters faced Hawkins for the second time, they collected a two-run home run by leadoff batter Christian Beggs, another double (by John Watson) and a single. Those hits staked Hokes Bluff to a 3-1 lead.
Robertson noted that his team hasn’t hit very well in every game, but the pitching has been very consistent.
Tuesday was a good day for the Eagle offense, as it collected 14 hits. Play in the field was also clean, as only three errors (two by Gaston) were committed.
Both squads turned to relief pitchers down the stretch and neither was badly hurt. Hokes Bluff did score three runs off Sawyer Bryson but two scored on an error.
Robertson made note that his second pitcher – Koby Addison – is an eighth-grader. Addison went through the order twice with no baserunners. He struck out three of the six he faced.
“He has shown us that he can throw strikes and get outs,” Robertson said.