Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
Early season trajectories continued in opposite directions Wednesday afternoon at Sid Boyette Field, as the Hunt High varsity baseball team scratched out a walk-off walk from sophomore Gavin Huff in the bottom of the seventh inning to claim a 6-5 victory over longtime nonconference foe C.B. Aycock.
The painful five-batter sequence from the Golden Falcons — a walk to sophomore Chase Waddell, hitting junior Tyson Bass, a bunt single by junior Jarrett Aycock with no one covering a bag, a lineout to right field and the final free pass to Huff that plated Waddell — was emblematic of a team still searching for its first win, as CBA, a 3-A member of the split 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference, dropped to 0-6.
Hunt of the 3-A Big East Conference, which swept a season series from CBA for the first time since 2011, notched its fifth victory without a loss.
However, neither veteran Hunt head coach Jon Smith nor second-year CBA mentor Allen Thomas emerged particularly happy with the details.
The Warriors prevailed despite three errors in the field and an assortment of mental errors that left Smith intent on returning to the practice field as soon as possible. CBA loaded the bases in the top of the first against Hunt with no one out after the first two batters reached base on errors and a bunt single by sophomore Clay Matthews, but Hunt’s Aycock, the starting right-handed pitcher, coaxed out a 5-2-3 double play. After a walk to CBA junior Rowan Watt, Aycock got junior Noah Overton to ground out to short, leaving the Falcons without a run despite the prime opportunity.
“We don’t look at results,” Smith said. “We try to make sure we do the little things and play the game of baseball, no matter who we’re playing, as well as we can. And we didn’t do that, for sure. We didn’t play up to our ability, but somehow, we found a way to win. And I told them I was happy we won, but tomorrow at practice, we’ve got some things to go over as far as toughness, making the right play when it’s there to be had, and just little things. It’s nothing physical. Physical errors are going to happen.”
Hunt fell behind in the second inning, in part due to a mental lapse. The bottom of CBA’s order turned it over for sophomore catcher Drew Spencer in the No. 2 hole, who singled into left field to score senior Davis Carroll. On the play, an extra throw to second from Hunt allowed a second run, in this case senior Tyrie Artis, to score.
But the Warriors batted around in their half of the second with the aid of CBA’s lone error, pushing across five runs to take a 5-2 advantage. Waddell’s two-run single tied it, and the Falcons had a chance to get out of the inning having only allowed the two runs. Yet a throw to first base off the bat off junior Tyson Bass was dropped, and the inning continued with sophomore Blaize Keen scoring on the miscue. Hunt made it hurt with two more unearned runs thereafter with Waddell scoring on a wild pitch and Aycock slapping an infield single to plate Bass.
“Bases loaded in the first inning and we didn’t get anything from it, and then they had the big five-run second,” Thomas lamented. “It’s like I told them, those were the innings that hurt us. We were pretty good the rest of the game; we had decent at-bats. And yes, the last inning didn’t go in our favor. But those two innings early on were what hurt us.”
Indeed, the Falcons rallied to tie it down three, plating two runs in the fourth and another in the sixth. Freshman Austin Booth, who finished 1 for 4 with a pair of RBIs, bounced into a fielder’s choice to tie it at 5 in the sixth before Huff looked at a 3-1 offering down low to end it in the home half of the seventh.
Aycock lasted four-plus innings, allowing five hits before yielding to Bass after facing a batter in the fifth. Bass earned the win in relief, facing two over the minimum. He struck out three without allowing a walk.
Junior Christian Brady was saddled with the loss in relief for CBA, allowing two hits over 2 1/3 innings. Each team collected seven hits, with Bass and Aycock each getting two. Matthews was 2 for 4 for the Falcons. All hits were singles.
Hunt opens Big East play on Monday with the start of five home-and-away sets in the league at Northern Nash. The Knights return the trip two days later on Wednesday. CBA is back in conference play Friday at Eastern Wayne.
“I don’t think we should act like we’re 5-0,” Bass said. “But I think we can do whatever we set our mind to.”
Score by innings:
C.B. Aycock 020 201 0 — 5
Hunt 050 000 1 — 6
One out when winning run scored.
WP-Tyson Bass (2-0) 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO. LP-Christian Brady (0-2) 2/13 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Hunt: Tyson Bass 2-3; Jarrett Aycock 2-4, RBI. Charles B. Aycock: Clay Matthews 2-4; Austin Booth 1-4, 2 RBI.