Bulldogs ease by NMB, St. James in first region games
Putting together solid pitching with timely hitting has the Marlboro County High baseball team on a roll as region play heats up.
The Bulldogs surged to 2-0 in Region 7-AAAA contests with wins over North Myrtle Beach and St. James.
"I couldn't be more proud of the way the guys competed. Both were tight games and we played with determination and confidence," said head coach Phillip Blue.
In both contests, the Bulldogs overcame early deficits to win in the later innings.
"Getting that hit at the right time has made all the difference. In some of our earlier games, that was the thing that was missing but in these last two games, we had guys come through in the clutch," said Blue.
The Bulldogs defeated St. James, 5-3, and North Myrtle Beach 3-2.
Tuesday night, St. James hopped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. A couple of walks and a single resulted in the Sharks’ run.
In the bottom of the second, Iyon Williams got a two-out double for the Bulldogs. He tied the game on a single by Zach Norton.
In the third, Brix Cribb led off with a bunt single. He gave Marlboro the lead minutes later, scoring on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Norton, Clint English and Cribb all scored after leading off the at-bat with three straight singles.
The Sharks got a two-out double in the top of the seventh that scored a pair of runs but the Bulldogs recorded the final out before any further damage could occur.
Devin Hardee got the win for the Bulldogs, striking out four over six innings. He allowed one walk and six hits.
Norton started on the mound but moved to the outfield after the first two innings. He struck out two while allowing one hit and two walks.
"The two combined for a really solid game. We pulled Zach because of the new pitch-count rule. By getting him out early, he will still be able to pitch on Friday," said Blue.
Norton was 3 for 4 at the plate with an RBI. Williams was 2 for 3. Cribb was 2 for 2 with two runs scored. English was 2 for 4.
Last Friday, Hardee and Norton combined to hold the North Myrtle Beach offense in check. Hardee started on the mound and scattered 8 hits over the first six innings, with Norton coming in to get the save in the seventh.
The Chiefs jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and added a run in the fourth.
Norton got the timely hit the Bulldogs needed in the bottom of the fifth inning. A two-out double by the senior drove in Chase Williams and Jett Herndon to tie the score.
Cribb scored the winning run on a single by Logan Quick in the bottom of the sixth.
Norton was 2 for 3 with the two key RBIs to lead the offense.
“It was important to get the region season off to a good start, especially with these being home games,” said Blue.
The Bulldogs (5-6 overall, 2-0 in region) will travel to Myrtle Beach Friday with sole possession of first place in the region on the line. The Seahawks are also 2-0 in region contests.
The Bulldogs will complete their first of two passes through the region schedule Tuesday at home against Wilson.