Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Hornets win epic one with Carlisle

Leader sportswriter

DES ARC – An untimely Carlisle error in the bottom of the eighth inning finally gave Hazen the score it needed to defeat its local rival in the 2A-6 District Championship as the Hornets earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming East Regional tournament with a hard-fought 3-2 win on Monday.

The Bison (15-5) took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning that was short lived before the Hornets (14-4) answered with two runs in the bottom half. Jacob Gordon tied the score for Carlisle in the top of the second inning with a solo home run that made it 2-2.

And then the scoring stopped for a while.

Hazen’s chance to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth fell short, and another chance for the Hornets in the final inning of regulation was thwarted when Brad Elder fielded Hunter Ingle’s pop fly between centerfield and right field.

The play gave Hazen two outs, but it came with a price for Carlisle as Elder collided with centerfielder Tyler Young, resulting in Young being knocked unconscious for a number of minutes before being taken off the field by local paramedics. Young was conscious and walking after the incident, but was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

Colby Rollins put the winning run on when he led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single up the middle and advanced on a Carlisle error on a grounder to third by Cody Kee.

Carlisle third baseman Deron Ricks made up for the slip on the next play when Kelby Martin’s dribbler back to relief pitcher Chris Hart resulted in a double play from Hart to Ricks to first baseman Josh Mathis.

That put substitute batter Drake Ingle at the plate with two outs and a runner at second. Ingle’s pop up to shallow left looked like another routine out, but Nick Schafer anticipated the ball too far in and was out of position to make the play when it finally returned.

For Hazen, Gage Johnson earned the win on the mound with a complete eight innings of work.

“Here’s the deal,” Carlisle coach William Rountree said. “A lot of times, we talk about what we do wrong, and that’s the coach’s job. Gage Johnson pitched a great game. I’ll tell you what kind of pitcher Gage is – our better hitters in the lineup weren’t hitting the ball hard. They were getting a bat on the ball, but they weren’t hitting it hard. As we went down, we had a lot of strikeouts. That’s a tribute to him, he mixes speeds real well, he’s a good pitcher.

“We missed some plays. You could probably break it down and say we should have won that game 2-1, but by the same token, you can’t really factor in the double play we turned, Elder makes a great catch out there in right field, and I thought both of our pitchers threw well.”

Mathis started on the mound for Carlisle and gave up two singles to start the game. He then struck out Ingle and forced a groundout to second by cleanup hitter Colton Felts that scored Johnson, the leadoff batter. Rollins singled after that and drove in Chase Van Houten to give the Hornets a 2-2 lead.

After that, Mathis held off the Hornets at the plate until they started to get to him in the fifth. Felts singled and Rollins doubled with two outs to put runners at second and third, but the Bison avoided disaster when Kee got only a piece of the ball that resulted in an easy pop-up out back to Mathis.

Carlisle got the initial lead in the top of the first when Hart singled with a grounder to second and beat the throw to first, and finally scored three batters later when Dylan Brazeal singled to left field.

Gordon’s home run to lead off the second inning came on Johnson’s third offering and easily cleared the left-field wall to tie the game.

“This is our best all-around game we’ve played all year,” Hazen coach Nathaniel Bradow said. “We played some defense, played some offense, and just kept pressing. You tell them to put the ball in play, and you leave it up to them to make the plays, and they’ll fold before we do. Luckily, they made one more error than we did, but we got the win.”

Schafer was 2 for 3 for Carlisle while Van Houten and Rollins were both 3 for 4 for Hazen.

With the No. 1 seed, Hazen is projected to take on Cutter-Morning Star in the first round of the East Regional at 5 p.m. Friday, while Carlisle will most likely face tourney host Poyen at 2:30 p.m.