Scoring four runs in each of the first three innings, Hampton dug a hole for Unaka the Junior Rangers could not climb out of. The Bulldogs (7-1) knocked off the Rangers on Monday afternoon at Holtsclaw Field, 13-3.
Austin Vines took the hill for Hampton and worked a solid game, going the distance while striking out five and not giving up a walk.
“I just came out ready to play and to get a win,” Vines said. “I worked my fastball mostly, and the guys made the plays in the field. I have to work more on my curveball.”
In the top of the first HMS got things rolling after one out walks to Wyatt Lyons and Chris Holtsclaw set up Ethan Markland for a two-run single to left against Unaka starter Austin King.
Dalton Blair then singled to the infield to put Bulldog runners on first and third. Jacob Byrd responded with a two-RBI base knock to give Hampton a 4-0 lead and chase King in favor of Austin Beauprez.
The Rangers got two runs back in their half of the frame as Beauprez singled, King doubled in a run and Abram Hill brought King around with a hit to make it a 4-2 contest.
Hampton put another four spot on the board in the second Dru Owens singling and scoring on a balk by Beauprez. Holtsclaw drilled another hit and two errors by Unaka did the rest of the damage as the Bulldogs led 8-2.
“When we start walking guys, we start making errors,” said Jr. Rangers head coach Tee Blevins. “Right now we are struggling to throw strikes. You can’t get a guy out if you’re walking him.”
Hampton stretched the advantage to 12-2 in the third with Holtsclaw banging a two-RBI hit. In all Holtsclaw finished 2-for-2 with two runs batted in and a walk for Hampton.
Markland was 1-for-2 with three RBI and was hit by a pitch.
For Unaka (2-4), King finished 1-for-2 and also had an RBI double.
“It’s all about throwing strikes and staying aggressive,” said junior Bulldogs head coach Greg VanTassell. “We were able to fight off some pitches to get to the point where we were able to draw some walks and get some big hits.”
The first three innings of this contest were competitive, but things fell apart for Unaka as the sun began to set. In a game dominated by walks, Hampton got the better of it — scoring three runs in the top of the first frame with Gavin Hardin driving in a run with a single.
The Rangers battled back with four in the last of the first to take the lead as Jacob Day’s single plated one run, wild pitches allowed two more runs and a bases-loaded walk forced in the other run for Unaka.
Hampton scored two in the third inning to retake the lead at 5-4. Holtsclaw doubled, and both Carden and Hardin drew free passes. Carden scored on a wild pitch and Brenden Ailport singled in a run to set up the bottom of the frame and the biggest play of the game for Hampton.
Unaka opened with a walk by Day and Caleb Bowers was plunked with a pitch bringing Elijah Egoff to the dish. Egoff hit a twisting liner to left field that Hampton’s David Fleenor caught on a line.
Both Unaka runners were at this point sprinting around the bases and Fleenor’s relay throw to second doubled up Day and the toss from Tyler Julian at second caught Bowers at first for a triple play.
“David did a good job on the catch and throw to Julian at second,” said VanTassell. “Julian finished it off and we were lucky enough to make the play to first.”
Hampton 444 1 — 13 9 9
Unaka 200 1 — 3 5 2
Vines and Blair. King, Beauprez (1), A.Hill (3) and Richardson. W—Vines. L—King. 2B—King.
Hampton 302 5 — 12
UMS 400 x — 4
Blair, Owens (1) and Holtsclaw. Parlier, I. Hill (1), Wiseman (4), Pierce (4) and Estep. W—Owens. L—Wiseman. 2B—Holtsclaw.