Wilkes juniors close out series with victory over Watauga
by Gerrit Van Genderen
Wilkes County Juniors win All-Star Tournament
Gerrit Van Genderen
Intern Sports Reporter
Wilkes County won the Junior League All-Star Tournament as it collected 14 hits in a 14-2 victory over Watauga County Thursday night at Optimist Park.
It was the second game of the best-of-three tournament series. The game was shortened to four innings because of the 12-run mercy rule in the Tarheel League.
Wilkes exploded for 11 runs on 10 hits in the bottom of the third inning; six of those hits coming consecutively to start the inning. Three Wilkes players collected two hits in the inning, including center fielder Tanner Clifton, who went 3-3 with a home run and two RBI on the day.
"We were really able to get our timing down tonight and the results were positive," Wilkes coach Derek Waddell said.
An RBI-single by Watauga second baseman Andrew Dye in the top of the third inning tightened the score to 2-1 but the Wilkes lead was extended shortly after. Watauga had three total hits and drew four walks.
The third inning run was its first run scored in the series against Wilkes' pitching staff in the two-game series.
Wilkes starting pitcher Zach Huffman pitched 32/3 innings, surrendering two runs on three hits while striking out four. Watauga starting pitcher Alex Dye took the loss.
"We did not execute very well in either game and the better team won," Watauga coach Bill Dicus said. "I think we could have made it a lot closer than we did but I am proud of these guys nonetheless."
Dicus said that it was a tough ending to the summer season but that his team knew it was going to be a tough series against Wilkes.
"This is a great bunch of kids," Dicus said. "I think everybody had a good experience playing on this team. We would love to have six or eight teams in this district but we have to play the ones that are there."
Wilkes won the first game of the series 10-0 Monday night. They will travel to Hickory for the 13-14-year-old Tarheel League State Championship starting July 17.
"Our boys are definitely excited to continue on playing," Waddell said. "I think we have got some really good pitching and if we hit like we did tonight, I think we will have a great shot in Hickory."