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Originally published: 2014-04-12 03:20:32
Last modified: 2014-04-12 03:21:17

Freedom's baseball team rallies past Watauga

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

When Watauga's baseball team is playing solid defense, the Pioneers' chances of winning increase.

When they make six errors, as they did in a 10-5 loss to Freedom Friday night, those chances often fly out the window.

Freedom (5-10, 1-9 NWC) snapped a 10-game losing streak that dated back to March 4. Before the Patriots' 3-2 loss to Hickory on April 8, their previous three losses were by a combined score of 37-3.

Watauga season continued its roller coaster ride. The Pioneers did not make any errors in an 11-0 win over Ashe on Wednesday, finished with just one hit in a 4-0 loss to Foard on Tuesday, and rolled to a 10-4 win over St. Stephens on April 4.

Pioneers coach Pete Hardee kept the team at the field after the game to hit a round of infield before letting the team leave.

Freedom gladly accepted Watauga's errors, added six hits to them, and accepted six walks and two hit batsman. Freedom finally scored five runs in the sixth inning to break a 5-5 tie and win the game.

"I made some bad decisions early on, so I just had the guys over and let them hit," Freedom coach Clint Zimmerman said. "They did their job at the plate."

Freedom's leadoff hitter Jacob Honeycutt, walked three times and scored each time. Dalton McGalliard walked once and Bryan Mayfield was hit by a pitch. Both scored after receiving their free passes, which gave the Patriots five run scorers who did not hit their way on base.

Watauga, which had six hits, found itself down 4-1 until breaking through for four runs in the fourth inning. Colby Illich was hit by a pitch and both Justin Greer and Steadman Sauls reached base with singles. All three players, plus Andy Critcher, who reached base on an error, scored runs for the Pioneers.

Utah Jones scored Watauga's other run in the first inning when he doubled and scored on an error.

Ironically, Watauga's defense helped get the Pioneers out of the second inning when Sauls, who was catching, threw out two runners trying to steal second base.

Watauga plays at Hibriten on Tuesday and hosts Patton on April 17.