Prep Baseball: Greyhounds drop opener
Hickory makes eight-run third inning hold up
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The visiting Red Tornadoes turned several Greyhounds miscues into an eight-run third inning Monday and handed Statesville a 12-7 loss in the season opener for both teams.
Greyhounds coach Jeff Peck was disappointed in his team's showing in what turned out to be the decisive third inning, and said his squad would have to eliminate the errors and improve their approach at the plate their next time out.
"You have to learn from your mistakes," he said. "We were sloppy. ... It's tough to come back when you give up an eight spot."
Greyhounds starting pitcher Kevin Williams faced 12 Hickory batters in the Red Tornadoes' early uprising. He hurt his own caused by walking two batters and hitting two batters in the inning, but was also plagued by a misplayed fly ball to left field that plated a run and help extend the inning.
Rhyne Johnson relieved Williams in the fourth inning and shut Hickory out for the next two frames, as the Greyhounds pulled to within 9-7 with one run in the third inning, four in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
A pair of errors by Hickory shortstop Pierson Hanvey in the fifth led to a pair of unearned runs that helped the Greyhounds inch closer.
But a two-out RBI double in the sixth by Hickory's Logan Hamilton, and a run-scoring balk and sacrifice fly gave the Red Tornadoes the final margin of victory.
Reliever Tristen Whaley pitched the final 3 2/3 innings to secure the win for Hickory, retiring seven of the last eight batters he faced.
The Greyhounds had seven hits. Edward Johnson had a single and double to lead the offense. Jalen Hill and Travis Ramseur Jr. each had a pair of singles, and Darreco Davis contributed a two-run single.
But the Greyhounds hurt their chances in the first and second innings by hitting into a pair of double plays.
Hickory had 13 hits, including Jess Gunrino's two run-double in the third inning. He had three hits to lead the Red Tornadoes.
"The Hickory batters had a good approach with two strikes," Peck said. "They put the bat on the ball, put it in play. They hit some balls that had eyes."