Hill gem vaults Rangers past Bulldogs
Published 7:51 pm Monday, April 11, 2016
Senior lefthander Abram Hill pitched a complete game giving up just one run on four hits as the Unaka Rangers earned a 5-1 Watauga Valley Conference win over Hampton to take possession of first place in the conference.
Hill struck out nine and walked two and displayed several off speed pitches to go along with spotting a pretty good fastball. When asked what he had going for him on the day Hill replied, “Defense. I mixed up some fastball’s and curveball’s. We’re young but we play good defense, and this was a big win for us.”
The Rangers (10-6, 4-1 WVC) scored a pair of gift runs in the top of the fourth against Bulldogs lefty Wyatt Lyons. Lyons and Hill had battled through three frames with neither giving up a run until Lyons opened the fourth by walking Hill.
One out later John ‘Boy’ Ramsey singled to left and with two away Dakota Gallimore worked Lyons for a free pass to load the bases. Both Justin Houghton and Austin King worked full counts before walking to force in two runs and give Unaka a 2-0 lead.
In the Bulldog sixth senior Jerry Lunsford doubled to right center to lead things off and he moved to third on a deep fly ball by Lyons. Lunsford scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Austin Vines, but it could have been so much more.
King got a good jump on the ball which was smashed into the gap in left centerfield but King kept tracking the ball and made a sensational rolling catch.
“Pitching and defense has been our strong suit this year,” said Rangers head coach Tee Blevins. “I’ve said it before, that throwing strikes and our defense is where we are strong. Bats are streaky, but we got it done. Abe threw a great game and Austin King made that diving catch in the outfield – they scored on it – but I am proud of all the boys. They played well, kept their heads in it the whole time.”
Vines RBI made it a 2-1 game but the Rangers came on strong in the top of the seventh against Hampton reliever Nash Eyrasa. Isaac Hill singled and Austin Wilson hit a lazy fly ball to right that Draven Greene dropped, but was still able to get the force on Hill at second base.
Abram Hill was hit by a pitch and Blake King’s pop fly to shallow right fell between three Bulldog fielders to load the bases. Ramsey hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it a 3-1 game and with two outs freshman John Wesley Hardin drilled a two run single to left.
“Hampton played real well,” Blevins said. “I thought Wyatt Lyons pitched great. We scored two on him on walks with the bases loaded. They played well enough to win, but tomorrow is going to be big. We have to be ready.”
The Bulldogs make the trip to Stoney Creek today to play the Rangers once again with game time at 6 pm.
Unaka 000 010 3 – 5 8 0
Hampton 000 001 0 – 1 4 1
W – A. Hill L – Lyons
DP – none. LOB – H 4, U 9. 2B – Lunsford.