Bulldogs succumb to Sullivan North

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   The mid-season woes continued for the Hampton Bulldog baseball team Tuesday as the 'Dogs received a 10-1 shelling at the hands of conference leader Sullivan North.
   This season has represented a carbon copy effect for the 'Dogs. According to Bulldog coach Scotty Bunton, key mistakes at key moments have hurt the 'Dogs from day one.
   "Today was the same story for us," Bunton said. "We keep making mistakes at crucial times, and its hurt us all year."
   The game began at an even keel, as both teams spent the first inning sizing up the opposition.
   Sullivan North struck first as a leadoff triple by Alex Bolling turned into a one run lead after a single by Chris Eaton.
   The 'Dogs could not answer in the bottom of the first. However, they would draw even in the home half of the second inning.
   A leadoff walk to the designated hitter Robbie England and a sacrifice bunt by Gene Sanders put England in scoring position with one out.
   England would score on a ground ball to short, and the Bulldogs pulled even at one all.
   The second inning also saw trouble for the Hampton pitching staff as starter Adam Miller was forced to leave with arm trouble. Reliever Eric Swain would perform admirably for the duration only allowing two earned runs.
   Neither team could post a run during the third inning, but a tragic mistake would cost the Dogs dearly in the top half of the fourth.
   A leadoff walk followed by a single and a strikeout left runners on first and second with one away.
   Eaton then grounded into what appeared to be a textbook double play, but the ball got away from the first baseman, and allowed the Raiders to score on the play.
   The play would have closed out the side, but the Raiders were quick to capitalize on the mistake.
   Sullivan North would add 4 more un-earned runs after the miscue and took a 6-1 lead going into the fifth inning.
   By this point in the ballgame, Raider starter Kevin Arnold was finding his stride. For the remaining four innings he would only allow one runner to reach scoring position, effectively silencing the Bulldog offense.
   The Bulldogs hit the baseball but solid defense held Hampton to only two hits for the entire contest.
   Meanwhile the Sullivan North offense showcased why they are the conference leaders, adding a total of 4 insurance runs during the fifth and sixth innings securing a solid 10-1 victory over the 8-12 Bulldogs.
   With a glimmer of hope still visible, Bunton remains upbeat on the future prospects for this season.
   "We had one bad break or this was a different ballgame," Bunton said. "We have to regroup and keep our head up.
   "We'll keep digging."
   Bunton also addressed the Raiders with a dose of respect.
   "They came out and did what they are capable of," Bunton said. "They showed what it takes to be a conference leader."