Falcons drop 'Dogs

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff
tbrown@starhq.com

   The Hampton Bulldogs have been amid the storm as of late, as wins continue to slip through their fingers. The Volunteer Falcons took advantage of Bulldog mishaps en route to a 14-5 victory over the 'Dogs on Thursday.
   Hampton skipper Scotty Bunton is finding the solutions hard to come by as the season progresses.
   "We've been making mental mistakes all year," Bunton said. "I can't explain why it happens."
   The game started off with both teams competing fiercely, as the lead changed hands three times in the first four innings.
   Volunteer got on the board in the top half of the first as lead-off man Time Ofero drew a free pass. Ofero would come around to score on a wild pitch to give Volunteer a 1-0 lead.
   The Bulldogs would respond in the home half as Kevin Harrison and Robby England would drive in runs to give Hampton the 2-1 advantage after one complete.
   Both teams would go in order in the second inning as both Eric Swain, and Jared Anderson settled in on the mound. However both teams would break out the bats once again in the third inning.
   The Falcons capitalized on two hits and a pair of Bulldog errors to score three runs in the frame and retake the lead 4-2. A lead-off single followed by back to back miscues put one run in and runners in scoring position.
   A walk, followed by a RBI double would round out the Volunteer third inning, with Hampton looking to counterattack in the home half.
   Hampton fired back with their largest offensive output of the game. Swain and England, along with Justin Waycaster and Adam Miller, singled, posting three runs for the 'Dogs in the third.
   After regaining the lead in the bottom half of the third, the 'Dogs seemed to fall off somewhat as the bats were no longer cracking for Hampton.
   From the fourth inning on, the Bulldogs only sent 12 hitters to the plate. The only baserunner was picked off in the bottom of the fourth, as the Hampton offense dropped off the scope.
   The remainder of the game was all Volunteer as six hits and four additional errors were enough to post 10 insurance runs for the Falcons.
   Back-to-back doubles by Ofero and Brandon Flanney lead to three runs in the fourth as fielding and communication problems cost the Bulldogs four more runs in the top of the fifth.
   Despite the tail spin, the Bulldogs were hitting the baseball throughout the contest. Of the 29 batters that Anderson faced in the game, only two struck out. Unfortunately for Hampton, every ball was hit right at a defensive player.
   That comes as small consolation to a Hampton team hungry for wins.
   "More of the same for us," Bunton said. "We will hit the ball for a while, and then we'll go cold."
   As for assessing the overall situation, Bunton hopes more of an emphasis on pitching will turn the ship around.
   "We can't keep our intensity up," Bunton said. "We have to throw more strikes, and get ahead of hitters. If we do that maybe other things will pick up for us."
   Hampton will look to get back on track as it squares off against Drew Harrell and University High today on the Jr. Bucs' home diamond.