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Originally published: 2014-04-24 21:17:27
Last modified: 2014-04-24 21:18:26

Pioneers hold off Tarboro 6-3

by Staff Reports

TARBORO -- Watauga's baseball team went to the Tarboro Easter Tournament looking to not only snap a three-game losing streak, but to possibly start a three-game winning streak.


The Pioneers made it two straight victories in one day after beating Tarboro 6-3 at Municipal Stadium Thursday night. Watauga plays in the tournament championship game at 7 p.m. Friday night.


Watauga (9-11) beat Rocky Mount Prep 18-0 in three innings earlier in the day. The Pioneers made it two straight wins in the tournament after scoring four runs in the second inning and two more in the fourth.


"It was a big game for us tonight and we knew Tarboro was going to be tough here in their home field," Pioneers coach Pete Hardee told WATA radio. "It was a home crowd, so they had that kind of thing going with the home crowd, and they're a scrappy bunch."


Watauga starting pitcher Matt Lambert made sure the lead was safe for the first six innings of the game. He allowed four hits and walked five Tarboro batters in picking up the win.


Jeffrey Gainey and Hunter Isaacs closed the game out on the mound in the seventh inning for the Pioneers, but it didn't come easy. Tarboro scored two runs and put runners on first and second with one out before Isaacs got the final two outs.


One of those outs was a diving catch by right fielder Matt Tyndall. It turned into a sacrifice fly, but it probably saved at least another run.


"They came close in the end," Hardee said. "Lambo was getting tired at the end and we brought (Gainey) in and I didn't feel he looked sharp. I went ahead and went with Hunter and I thought he did a great job. It was also a great catch by Tyndall in right."


Offensively, leadoff batter Jesse Illich went 4-for-4 from the plate. He scored two runs and had an RBI double in the second inning.


Justin Greer drove in Illich with a single, and Lambert drove in Greer with a single. Earlier in the inning, Steadman Sauls hit an RBI single.


Watauga also scored two runs in the fourth inning. Andy Critcher walked and scored on a wild pitch, while Lambert drove in Illich with a double.


Watauga finished with 12 hits. The Pioneers left seven runners on base, six in scoring position. Greer, Lambert, and Hunter Isaacs each had two hits for Watauga.


Tarboro slipped to 8-8 this season. The Vikings are a member of the 1-A Two Rivers Conference.