By Carl Holcomb –
The Hardy County Hardball Classic version 2.0 made computer diagnostics go haywire as smoke came off the bats in an extra innings affair in Baker.
Social media feeds came to a halt as Moorefield outlasted the Cougars 14-11 in eight innings behind a complete team effort on the mound, at the plate, and in the field.
“I thought the guys were very resilient. This is a regular season game that you look forward to. I think it is always good to be playing teams that are competitive. You know that they are going to bring out the best in you, expose things that you need to work on and this is the time of year you want that to happen,” Moorefield Coach Wade Armentrout stated. “I thought all the guys would need to piece that together, they came in and got the outs when we needed it. The top of our order hit when we needed them to hit and got us some runs. It was a good team victory, I’m proud of all the guys. It is always good when you are in a fun atmosphere and the fans are really into the game. That is why these guys practice so hard in March, because they know they have good fan support. The kids are excited to play each other and be competitive and that is what it is all about.”
One thing that was evident is batteries on phones don’t last forever and these Hardy County athletes can keep moving with an abundance of energy.
The smoke from a control burn in the nearby forest didn’t deter the Yellow Jackets from swarming into Baker and grabbing a 6-0 lead.
“It was a good ball game. We made a coupe mistakes early and gave them a big lead. I’m proud of our kids, they battled back. We could have quit any time,” East Hardy Coach Raymond Snapp commented. “We battled, but made some fielding errors. We should have been out a couple of innings and up a couple runs. You can’t give a good team like that extra runs in a game. We’ll be okay.”
Was there a statement to be made in the opening frame?
East Hardy pitcher Cole Collier beaned Moorefield’s first two batters, Adam Snyder and Jared Kite.
Moorefield’s DaShawn Brown hit into a fielder’s choice with an out being recorded at second base, but the throw to first base couldn’t be handled by Brady Hinkle and Snyder scored.
Collier forced two flyouts to get out of the inning, down 1-0.
East Hardy’s Korey Foltz reached on an error by Austin Williams and advanced around to third base as the ball went into the outfield on a throw from home to second.
Moorefield pitcher Lance Taylor nailed the Cougars with two strikeouts and a pop-up to retire the side.
The Yellow Jackets got a leadoff single by Garrett Keller, then a walk given to Seth Stickley, and a bunt single by Dakota Vetter to juice the bases in the second inning.
Austin Williams hit into a fielder’s choice, but Keller safely slid home for another run, 2-0.
Snyder hit an RBI single and Kite followed with a sacrifice fly.
After a pop-out, Taylor hit an RBI single to push the lead to 5-0.
Collier hit Mikey Pultz, then landed a strikeout to end the trouble.
East Hardy managed to get a leadoff walk to Justin Basye, then a fielder’s choice by Collier before a strikeout and flyout ended the inning.
Stickley singled to start the third inning, then Vetter hit into a fielder’s choice with the out at second.
Williams got a single, then Snyder hit a sacrifice fly for a 6-0 advantage.
The Cougars pounced back ferociously in the bottom half…