Bulldogs flatten Mitchell County

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   When you make a dog mad, it usually wants to bite you. The Hampton Bulldogs played like they were angry Friday, and took a big bite out of their opponent.
   The Bulldogs bounced back from a Thursday loss by pounding Mitchell County, N.C. 15-5 at Hampton's baseball field.
   Hampton struggled hitting the ball on Thursday in a 9-1 defeat to Happy Valley, but had nine hits Friday in a game that was called off in the bottom of the fifth because of the mercy rule.
   Bulldog shortstop Josh Moss had three hits on the afternoon, and thought the bats finally started clicking Friday.
   "We hit the ball better as a team," Moss said. "We didn't make as many mistakes as we did yesterday, and we hit the ball better."
   Hampton head coach Scotty Bunton was pleased to see the bats get going, but is still worried about the pitching.
   "We put the bat on it," Bunton said. "We scored a lot of runs, and that takes pressure off the defense. A couple of guys that hadn't been hitting well came up hitting today, so that's a bright spot. We played most of the balls in the field pretty decently, so that's a bright spot. But our pitching is in bad shape. It's going to be a long next three or four weeks."
   Hampton ace Kevin Harrison pitched the first two innings, but had to be taken out because of an arm injury.
   "He's out until further notice as a pitcher," Bunton said. "I think we can get some ice on him, and get him to where he can play a little bit in the field, and keep his bat in the order. But he's out as far as pitching's concerned for awhile."
   Harrison's injury was really the only bad news of the day for Hampton, as this contest belonged to the Bulldogs.
   It was a close game early on, as the score was 2-2 going into the bottom of the second. But it was all Hampton from that point on.
   The Bulldogs exploded during that frame. Hampton took advantage of several walks and big hits from Adam Miller and Moss to make it a 6-2 game with two outs and the bases still loaded when Miller batted for the second time in the inning.
   Miller doubled to bring in Ryan Deskins and Robby England, and Hampton held a 8-2 advantage with Dustin Crumley coming up to the plate.
   Crumley finished off the unbelievable inning with a three-run homer to left to make it an 11-2 contest.
   "Dustin hits it as hard as anybody we've got when he hits it," Bunton said. "We've got a couple of them like that,"
   Moss was very happy for Crumley.
   "He's going to be a hitter for us I believe," Moss said.
   The Bulldogs led 15-4 going into the top of the fifth, but Mitchell County added a run in an attempt to extend the game. Miller made sure it didn't happen, as he struck out Gabe McKinney and got Jordan Jenkins to ground to third to end the contest.
   Miller and Eric Swain both had two hits for the Bulldogs. Jacob Helms topped Mitchell County with two hits on the day.
   It's been a rough season for the Bulldogs so far, so Bunton thought the win was needed.
   "It's good for the kids, and good for their confidence," Bunton said.
   Moss echoed Bunton's sentiments.
   "This will build our confidence a little bit, I believe," Moss said. "We're finally going to come together as a team, I think."
   The Bulldogs will be back in action Monday against Unaka.