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Originally published: 2014-03-22 17:10:12
Last modified: 2014-03-22 17:10:58

A.C. Reynolds rolls past Pioneers

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Watauga's baseball team was hoping a Saturday nonconference game against A.C. Reynolds would be a way to shake the cloud that built over the program the previous night.
A.C. Reynolds would have none of that.

After committing eight errors in a loss to Hibriten on Friday night, the Pioneers stumbled to a 7-1 loss to Reynolds on a windy Saturday afternoon at Watauga's field.

It was Watauga's second straight loss after claiming a 4-3 win at Freedom on Wednesday. The Pioneers slipped to 4-4.

Watauga's defense made just one error against Reynolds, compared to the eight the Pioneers committed in a 4-3 loss to Hibriten in eight innings on Friday. Watauga made some mental mistakes on defense against Reynolds Saturday, but those weren't the only things that went wrong.

Watauga's offense continued to struggle with scoring runs. Reynolds pitcher Jon Merrill gave up an unearned run in the first inning, and allowed just four hits -- all singles -- the rest of the afternoon.
After Watauga's Matt Tyndall and Colby Illich hit back-to-back singles to start the first inning, Merrill set the next 15 Pioneers back to the bench.

"Right now, we're just struggling," Watauga coach Pete Hardee said. "The defense is poor, we're not swinging the bats and we're walking a lot of people. It's not a good combination."

Jesse Illich scored Watauga's only run. He opened the game by reaching base on an error, and then stole second base.

Illich went to third on a fielder's choice by Carson Isaacs and scored on a wild pitch.

Merrill did the rest. He struck out six, and although Watauga did hit some line drives to the outfield, Reynolds' outfielders caught five of them.

"When he started throwing his curve ball and his changeup for strikes, he was successful," Reynolds coach Bryan Craig said.

Merrill, who hit second in the Rockets order for the first time this season, also helped himself at the plate. Merrill went 3-for-5 on the day with two RBI doubles and an RBI single in the third inning that gave the Rockets a 3-0 lead.

Watt, who was A.C. Reynolds' leadoff batter, went 3-for-3 with an RBI double, and he walked twice. Watt scored three runs.


Overall, A.C. Reynolds finished with nine hits, and received five walks. Two other Rockets were hit by a pitch.


"After that first couple of innings, we started hitting the ball pretty good," Craig said.


Things do not get any easier for the Pioneers, who host Patton on Tuesday. Patton is 6-3 overall, 2-2 in the Northwestern Conference, but is coming off a 2-1 loss to Fred T. Foard on Friday.

 

A.C. Reynolds 7, Watauga 1

A.C. Reynolds            003 201 1 -- 7 9 2

Watauga          100 000 0 -- 1 4 1

Merrill and Williams. Gainey, Nigro (4), Watts (6) and Sauls. W--Merrill, L--Gainey. LOB--A.C. Reynolds 9, Watauga 4. 2B--A.C. Reynolds, Watt, Merrill 2. SF--A.C. Reynolds, Hensley. SB--A.C. Reynolds, Watt 2, Green. SH--A.C. Reynolds, Craig. HBP--A.C. Reynolds, Stockhawsen (by Gainey), Green (by Watts).