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It may be early in the season, but the self-proclaimed “Dirty Dozen” that makes up the Wilson Christian varsity baseball team is developing a reputation for being a tough-minded unit.
Falling behind 6-0 in their season opener at Parrott Academy last week, the Chargers steadily chipped away and successfully mounted a comeback. Monday afternoon against Beddingfield, Wilson Christian, the reigning North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A champion, required no such herculean effort in overcoming an early one-run deficit and stampeding to a 14-1 win in six innings.
But the methodology in play was reflective of a group willing to battle pitch by pitch to achieve an end goal. Starting with the third inning, the Nos. 7-9 hitters for the Chargers (2-0) accounted for 12 plate appearances. Through various means — including two of Beddingfield’s four total errors — 10 WCA batters in the bottom third of the order reached base. As such, Wilson Christian’s bottom third posted nine of its 14 runs and fueled outbursts in the third, fourth and fifth innings with productive two-strike approaches. The entirety of the Chargers’ order helped bring forth the 10-run rule with a six-run showing in the top of the sixth.
“The bottom kept putting us in a situation to score,” Wilson Christian head coach Ty Bissett said. “And 0-2 counts in the bottom of the lineup — I think twice we had an 0-2 count to lead off the inning and ended up getting a walk. They’ve got the mentality at the plate ‘I’m going to get on.’”
The effectiveness of that mentality from No. 7 hitter, Hunter Lewis, No. 8 Bryce Hughes and No. 9 Dylan Farmer took root in the third against Beddingfield right-hander Mann Farmer. Both Lewis and Hughes engaged Beddingfield’s Farmer in exhaustive two-strike duals, eventually coaxing out a walk. Farmer reached on an error, and junior Gabe Barnes, at the top of the order, took a Farmer offering into right field for a two-run single.
Senior right-hander Zack Denmark, the winning pitcher, drew a bases-loaded walk three batters later, and Wilson Christian began to pull away with 14 unanswered runs. That also spelled the end of Mann Farmer’s laborious outing on the mound, and Beddingfield relievers, juniors Ty Johnson and Devallice Rasberry, fared no better against the
Lewis, who threw the final two innings, was 1 for 2 with three runs scored and a pair of walks. Hughes scored twice, and sophomore Jack Ortiz entered as a pinch hitter in the fifth and slapped an RBI single into let. Farmer reached on all four plate appearances, scored three times and drove in a run after getting plunked by a pitch in the sixth. Senior Adrian DeHart led Wilson Christian at the plate, going 4 for 5 with three RBIs. Three of DeHart’s hits were infield singles, and none of WCA’s hits went for extra bases. Barnes went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and tallied a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Mann Farmer faced the minimum through two innings before facing the bottom of the Wilson Christian order for the first time. Junior Rio Montes put the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference Bruins (0-2) on top early with a double to center field that plated Farmer, who singled.
“At first, they weren’t hitting too well,” Lewis said. “So, we had to come in and do it. Just get on base so we can score.”
Denmark held the Bruins to three hits and didn’t permit a Beddingfield batter past first base after the opening inning. He struck out five without a walk and often induced weak ground ball outs from the Bruins. Seven of Denmark’s 15 batters faced went down via the ground out as the Chargers turned in an errorless display behind him. Beddingfield loaded the bases against Lewis in relief in the sixth, but a strikeout ended it.
Mann Farmer had two of Beddingfield’s four hits, going 2 for 3 with the Bruins’ only run.
“The whole lineup did a very good job with two strikes of putting the ball in play with two strikes,” Beddingfield head coach Noah Edens said of WCA. So it was very tough to get out. They just kept fighting the pitches off and just built the pitch count up. We’re still on a pitch count this early in the year, and it got there in a hurry.”
So why the Dirty Dozen moniker for the Chargers?
“’Cause there’s 12 of us, and that’s all we’ve got!” Bissett said. “And we’re dirty. And we play hard. We’re dirtball players. I don’t mean we’re dirty — we just play hard in the dirt.”
Score by innings:
Wilson Chr. 003 236 — 14
Beddingfield 100 000 — 1
WP-Zack Denmark (1-0) 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO. LP-Mann Farmer (0-1) 3 IP 2, H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Wilson Christian: Adrian Dehart 4-5, 3 RBI; Gabe Barnes 2-4, 3 RBI; Beddingfield: Mann Farmer 2-3, Rio Montes 1-3, 2B, RBI.