Falcon pitcher cuffs Bulldogs

By Ivan Sanders

   Vincent Van Gogh and pitcher Tim Ofcio of the Volunteer Falcons have a unique similarity. Each one knows the feeling of being responsible for a masterpiece.
   Ofcio hurled a complete game, six-hit gem against the Hampton Bulldogs on Tuesday in leading his club to a 10-2 victory on the 'Dogs' home field.
   Statistically, Ofcio had a game that any young high school pitcher dreams of as he sent 11 'Dogs to the pine on strikeouts, while issuing no walks.
   "Our pitching was a key part to our defense today," stated Volunteer head coach Moe Cloud. "Tim was working his fastball real well while throwing in some curveballs and a knuckleball or two."
   Hampton starting pitcher Kevin Harrison took care of business early in the contest.
   In the top of the first, Jake Qualls opened the contest by drawing a walk from Harrison. The 'Dogs hurler then was able to get Ofcio to pop up an 0-1 offering which Harrison promptly collected for out number one.
   The Falcons Daniel Byington then grounded into a fielders choice, forcing Qualls at second. Byington took second on a wild pitch and Harrison sit left fielder Wes Bowery down on with a "K" on a 2-2 pitch for out number three.
   Ofcio also got off to a fast start by striking out Josh Moss and Robby England in the bottom of the inning. Harrison then delivered a rocket shot of the right field fence for a stand-up double with two outs.
   Right fielder Ryan Deskins then popped up on the infield, where the catcher for Volunteer cuddled the ball into his mitt for out number three. The score was deadlocked at 0-0 after one complete inning.
   In the top of the second, the 'Dogs picked up out number one on a groundout by Jeremy Jones back to the pitcher. Dee Charles then took a 0-1 pitch on the leg to advance to first base.
   Charles swiped second and advanced to third on a groundout by Joe Simpson to second baseman Daniel Carden. Scott McConnell drew a walk on four straight pitches before Harrison caged the Falcons by striking out Bart Berry to end the threat for Volunteer.
   The 'Dogs were easy prey in their half of the inning as Ofcio set Adam Miller and Justin Waycaster down on strikeouts while receiving help from battery mate Berry, who gunned down Eric Swain trying to steal second base.
   Swain reached on a single sandwiched in between the two K's. At the end of two the scoreboard was showing goose eggs for both combatants.
   Volunteer then was able to reach Harrison in their half of the third. Qualls reached on a bobbled fielding attempt by Harrison on a toss from first baseman Brad Hodge.
   Qualls took second and advanced to third on a bunt single by Ofcio. Ofcio swiped second unchallenged and Qualls broke the scoring drought by scampering across the plate on a groundout by Byington.
   Ofcio then scored after a two-base fielding error by Waycaster in centerfield off the bat of Jones. Moss put an end to the Falcons run by throwing out Charles at first on a one-hopper.
   Once again, the 'Dogs went without a whimper in their half of the frame as Hodge grounded out unassisted to the first baseman. Carden went down swinging on a 1-2 count and Moss flew out to right for out number three. At the end of three, the Falcons led 2-0.
   The Falcons preceded to add eight runs over their next two frames to pull away from the 'Dogs. Volunteer put together 6 hits and reached on one error in the scoring frenzy.
   "Volunteer just outplayed us today," stated Hampton mentor Scotty Bunton. "We have a lot of young kids and this was probably one of the best pitchers we've seen."
   Harrison was relieved on the mound in the fourth after facing four batters, due to a soar arm. Eric Swain relieved Harrison, but was unable to get a hold of the onslaught.
   Hampton was able to add one run in each frame of the fourth and fifth inning. Harrison tripled and came in on a single by Deskins in the fourth inning.
   In the fifth, Waycaster reached on an error by the Falcon second baseman and advanced to third on a single by Hodge. Moss drove Waycaster home on a single to put men on the corners before Volunteer turned a dandy 6-4-3 twin killing to end the frame.
   Swain was able to keep Volunteer over the last two innings, but Ofcio was up to the task as well striking out the side in Hampton's seventh inning to end the contest.
   Harrison collected three strikeouts and four walks for his work on the mound while Swain stuck out one and walked two. The 'Dogs were kind to the visitors as they committed three untimely errors in the contest.
   Qualls led Volunteer at the plate with a 2 for 3 day at the plate with 3 RBIs. Byington added a 2-for-4 performance and also collected 3 RBIs.
   Harrison went 2 for 3 for the 'Dogs with a double and triple, with Moss, Deskins, Swain and Hodge picking up one base knock each. Moss and Deskins picked up one RBI each.
   The Falcons run their slate to 2-2, 1-0 in the conference while Hampton drops to 2-2, 0-1 in the conference.