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With the wind snarling and the temperature plunging, the Hunt High varsity baseball team shivered its way to a 9-6 nonconference victory against archrival Beddingfield on the Sid Boyette Field diamond Friday evening.
Afterwards, head coaches Jon Smith of Hunt and Noah Edens of the Bruins offered the same assessment: “Sloppy baseball.”
Smith acknowledged the conditions affected some situations, but added: “I thought the kids did a good job of handling the conditions. It was just sloppy baseball.”
The Warriors of the 3-A Big East Conference capitalized upon nine unearned runs to even their record at 1-1. Beddingfield of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference dropped to 1-1. Hunt visits another Eastern Plains foe, Farmville Central, on Saturday afternoon, while the Bruins have three home games scheduled on consecutive days next week, starting with Tarboro on Tuesday.
Beddingfield paid the greatest toll for its four errors. Three Hunt miscues influenced three Bruins’ unearned runs. Each team had a passed ball and mental errors and misplays were prevalent for each team.
“We’ll take any win at this point,” Smith expressed. “But, right now, I could care less about our play on the field; it’s where our minds are. As far as the mistakes, we’re going to fix that.”
Observed Edens: “I understand the conditions were not favorable. ... But most of our errors didn’t have anything to do with the weather conditions. It’s a matter of, when you throw the ball, catch it.”
The Bruins pounced on Hunt pitcher Hunter Barnes, making his first career varsity start, for three runs in the first inning. Beddingfield owned a 4-3 edge when the Warriors chased starting Beddingfield pitcher Austin Worley, a senior right-hander, with six runs in the fifth inning.
Infielder Josh Fuller singled twice in the inning, capping the outburst with a two-run single that resulted in the exit of senior left-handed Bruins reliever Alston Pittman. Fuller had the only hits in an uprising that included three walks, a hit batter and a throwing error.
But Beddingfield wasn’t through. Right-hander Tyler Wells failed to retire a batter, yielding two walks and Pittman’s second double in the top of the seventh.
Sophomore right-hander Patrick Clark relieved and the Warriors committed their final error before Clark struck out the last two batters to record the save. Wells got the win.
Smith was pleased with the mound work of Barnes in his first start and Clark in relief.
“Patrick came in a threw strikes, and that’s exactly what we wanted him to do,” Smith commented.
Fuller and freshman catcher Chase Waddell each collected two hits. Wells doubled and drove in two runs.
Worley suffered the mound loss for Beddingfield, which outhit the Warriors 8-7. Junior shortstop Austin Slate and Pittman each banged out two hits.
“Worley threw the ball pretty well,” Edens said, “but we didn’t make the routine plays. We’re growing and working hard. They’ll get better.”