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The Hunt High varsity baseball team used a complete game from junior pitcher Tyson Bass to squeak by South Johnston, 1-0, in Tuesday’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A first-round playoff game at Sid Boyette Field.
Bass allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five batters for the Warriors (18-5), the No. 12 seed in the East Region. The Greater Neuse River Conference Trojans (13-9), seeded No. 21, put a runner in scoring position in the first and fourth innings with one out, but both times Bass got the next two batters out. Bass said he never felt pressure at any point of the game.
“It’s just another game,” Bass said. “I was just trying to keep everybody off first base, get outs and my teammates were helping me out like any other game.”
Each team had two errors, but the Trojans’ miscue to start the bottom of the fourth inning was costly. An errant throw by shortstop Jacob Norris to pull the first baseman Cole Winborne off the bag allowed Blaize Keen to reach safely lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Chase Waddell and a passed ball put Keen on third with one out. Bass hit a sacrifice fly to score Keen.
The Warriors got three hits and left one runner on base all evening as the Trojans starter Aubrey Pollard went six innings, walking one batter and striking out two others.
Hunt head coach Jon Smith said he wanted his players to put the ball in play and they executed that tonight.
“Eliminate the strikeouts and put the ball in play because our guys think that they can hit the ball out the park but they can’t,” Smith said. “They’ve got to go eat some biscuits and get in the weight room so we’re a scratch-and-claw type of team. Put the ball in play and use our speed. You’ve got to play to your strength.”
The Warriors, the 3-A Big East Conference No. 2 seed, will face the winner of No. 28 Cleveland and No. 5 West Johnston, both are from the Greater Neuse. The Warriors lost 2-0 to the Wildcats (18-6) in the Golden Leaf Invitational on April 22 at Hunt.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, because I’m more concerned about us than them,” Smith said. “I’ve lost some playoff games, but it’s been because we beat ourselves. Very few times do you get beat in baseball — you usually beat yourself.”
Score by innings:
South Johnston 000 000 0 — 0
Hunt 000 100 0 — 1
WP-Tyson Bass 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO. LP-Aubrey Pollard 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Hunt: Blaize Keen 1-2; Trey Dail 1-2; Tyson Bass 0-1, RBI. South Johnston: Ethan Weaver 1-3, 2B; Clayton Blackmon 2-3; Aubrey Pollard 1-3.