Hampton rallies past Avery County

Published 7:37 pm Monday, April 4, 2016

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Down by a run in the last of the seventh Hampton proved the adage that speed kills. Leadoff hitter Jerry Lunsford’s nubber down the first base line tied the game and he scored on a missed pickoff attempt as the Bulldogs rallied past Avery County 5-4 on Monday afternoon.

“It wasn’t hard hit, but it just happened to be in a good spot,” Lunsford said. “I would probably have done the same thing he did – just trying to win the ball game.”

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Vikings pitcher Caleb Pritchard fielded Lunsford’s roller up the first base line and he appeared to have the play beat, but Pritchard threw wide of first allowing Dalton Blair to score from second base and Lunsford ended up at second on the play.

Blair had singled up the middle to open the seventh and was sacrificed to second by Austin Vines to bring Lunsford to the dish. Then with Lunsford on second Pritchard tried a pickoff attempt but his throw sailed into centerfield from where Lunsford easily scored the game winner.

“I was going to try and get the win,” Lunsford said when asked if he thought about stopping at third. “When Nash got hurt I think that kind of gave us a spark to try to pull it out.”

Eyrasa (pronounced Areashaw) was injured on a play at the plate in the sixth inning as Hampton pulled to within 4-3. Eyrasa drew a one out walk and stole second base. He went to third on a single from Jacob Byrd and headed for home on a shallow fly ball off the bat of Gavin Hardin.

Avery catcher Jackson Presnell applied the tag to the leg of Eyrasa sending him sprawling to the ground, but in the process could not hold on to the ball and the run scored, but Eyrasa’s right leg gave out as he landed on home plate.

“He is one of our senior leaders,” commented Bulldogs manager Matthew Hardin. “He is our number two pitcher and it would be a big loss for us if he is out for any length. I just pray that it is not serious though it was swelling on him when we got him into the dugout.”

The ‘Dogs (4-1 overall) opened the game with a two run first inning against Pritchard as Lunsford walked and Dru Owens reached on an infield error by the Vikings (1-7 overall). After a wild pitch moved the runners up and a fly ball out by pitcher Wyatt Lyons, Eyrasa delivered a two run single to center.

Lyons pitched through the first two frames without incident but the Vikings got to him in the third when Andy Dominguez doubled to right center to lead off the stanza. Jordan Lecka then walked and a wild pitch moved both runners up 90 feet. Josh McClellan then stroked a two run base knock to right field to tie the game at 2-2.

The Vikings held the momentum and scored a single run in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead when Luke Crowe walked to open the inning and he came around to score on a one out single by Spencer Dearmin.

Dearmin figured into the scoring again in the sixth when his RBI grounder gave Avery County a 4-2 lead. That’s when the Eyrasa play happened and it all culminated in the seventh inning game winning rally. For Hampton Lyons pitched seven innings allowing five hits while striking out five and walking four.

“I’m still doing my best to get used to calling pitches for him,” Hardin said. “He struggled throwing his curveball, but we figured out today that he could throw a changeup that is just as effective as his curveball. That helped out a lot once I figured that out.”

For Avery, Pritchard went the distance giving up five hits while striking out six and walking just one.

Hampton 5-4

Avery Co. 002 101 0 – 4 5 4

Hampton 200 001 2 – 5 5 2

W – Lyons L – Pritchard

DP – H 1. LOB – AC 4, H 4. 2B – Dominguez.