'Dogs too much  for Highlanders

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Highlander Field was covered in Bulldog Blue.
   Coming off Saturday's jamboree at Hampton High School, the Bulldogs rolled Monday afternoon behind solid hitting and defensive fielding with a 9-6 and 7-4 sweep of the Cloudland Highlanders.
   The Bulldogs used a solid third inning behind Kevin Harrison and Dustin Crumley to take an advantage in the first contest, while three straight solid innings were enough to oust the 'Landers in the second five-inning game.
   "Any win's a good win this time of year," said Hampton head coach Scotty Bunton. "You really don't know what to expect early, but we were fortunate to get in a good jamboree and see a little bit.
   "We didn't throw the ball over, and we threw too many pitches. We hit it better and hope to keep improving."
   "Little things were hurting us out there," said 'Lander coach Robbie Turbyfill. "We just got some of the boys from basketball and haven't had much time to work in the field, but I think we can be competitive with a little work."
   Hampton got rolling in the first game with a solo home run from Josh Moss over the right field fence.
   Cloudland responded in the second inning with a two-run homer from Mark Barnett and a walked score from Dale Baker to take a 3-1 lead.
   Harrison brought Hampton back with a big 2-run single, followed by a stolen run from Justin Waycaster to regain the lead at the top of the third.
   An RBI single from Crumley put Hampton in the position it wanted, holding a 5-3 advantage.
   The Bulldogs got runs from Moss and Waycaster off of walks in the fourth, with a Waycaster double producing two more runs in the fifth.
   Cloudland got back on track at the bottom of the fifth with an RBI double from Barnett and a two-run double from Aaron Stocton. It wouldn't be enough as the 'Dogs took the first win.
   Hampton kept going in the second game, with Waycaster taking home after a throwing error in the opening frame.
   The Bulldogs used two RBI plays from Michael McCall and Eric Swain to take a 3-0 lead at the top of the second inning before Cloudland got back on the scoreboard.
   RBI singles from Dakota Benfield and Jeff Steiner cut the score for Cloudland, but Hampton wasn't through.
   McCall and Crumley took advantage of defensive mistakes from Cloudland in the third, setting up two more runs for the Bulldogs.
   Cloudland got an RBI double from Clint Steiner and an RBI single from Mark Byrd to pull within one run. A double play at home and second stalled any further scoring for the Highlanders.
   The blue and white used an RBI single from Harrison and a stolen score from Waycaster in the fourth to put it away with a 7-4 victory.
   Swain took the first victory over David Holden, while Adam Miller won the second game on the mound against Josh Johnson.
   "Defensively, we did what we had to and we threw people out," Bunton said. "Moss with the home run got us going in the first one and it's good to start scoring early in a game. Kevin Harrison is back from injury and we hope to use him against Central."
   "We've got to get the little things down," added Turbyfill. "We hit it well today and did good in the field at times. You've got to give credit to Hampton, they've got a great team."
   Hampton visits Sullivan Central on Thursday before hosting Providence Academy for a doubleheader on Friday. Cloudland takes on Unaka with a non-conference contest on Friday in Roan Mountain.