Bulldogs battle Rangers out in postseason play, 10-2

Published 12:35 am Tuesday, May 11, 2021

BY AUSTIN ALEXANDER
STAR CORRESPONDENT

JONESBOROUGH – The Region 1, Division 1A baseball tournament kicked off on Friday with a pair of Carter County clubs traveling to tournament hosts David Crockett for a first-round showdown.

Unaka entered the underdog, but they battled in a big way early on showing Hampton that they came to play. Ultimately, the Bulldogs were too overwhelming toppling the Rangers 10-2.

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Caleb Royston started things off on the mound for the Bulldogs sitting the first two batters of the game down. Next up, Luke Carr would loop a ball into right-center for a double.

An infield hit from Nathan Painter would put runners on the corners. But the Rangers tested the cannon of Morgan Lyons who would catch Painter stealing to end the inning.

Carr was the ace selected by the Rangers and he looked good early, retiring the Bulldogs after five batters and no hits.

Royston would continue battling the Rangers closing them down after four batters in the top of the second inning.

After a walk put Royston on base, a single would from Collin Morgan would put runners on the corners. McKinley Kuhn would lay down a sacrifice bunt to score the first run of the game.

Chance Point would then knock in two more runs and the Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead into the third inning.

A tough start to the inning for the Bulldogs on the mound saw three consecutive walks setting the stage for Painter to knock in two runs. Hampton would then make a pitching change going to Josh Whitson to close the inning out.

With the bases loaded, Kuhn would slap in two runs with a bunt from Whitson scoring another making it 6-2 heading into the fourth inning.

Whitson struck out the side and the Bulldogs would add another two runs in the bottom of the inning.

The rest of the game was a formality as the Bulldogs added a couple more runs while Brody Hicks would come into the game to finish off the Rangers, striking out the side.

“Postseason nerves and jitters are a real thing,” said Hampton head coach Nicholas Perkins. “My guys struggled to settle in, but any postseason win is a big win especially after the 2020 season was canceled.”

With the win, the Bulldogs ran their record to 15-10, winners of 13 of their last 18 games overall.