HV comes out swining in win over Bulldogs

By Michelle Pope

   The Happy Valley baseball team rocked Cannon-Gouge Park Thursday afternoon, batting four deep into its lineup for the second time in the first inning and sending nine runners home on six hits.
   Warrior pitcher Shannon Buchanan threw six strikeouts and only had two hits against him, neither of which occurred until the fifth inning. The game ended after five innings, with the Warriors celebrating the 14-2 victory over Hampton.
   The bottom of the first inning was full of action for Happy Valley. Ricky Morgan smashed a four-run homer, Will Lowe hit a triple good for three runs, Todd Caldwell hit two doubles, and Tim Whaley sent two runners home off a single to left center field.
   Morgan also grounded a base hit to left field his first time at bat. Catcher Ryan Garland, designated hitter Allen Dykes, and Buchanan all took first base on walks that turned into runs before the inning ended.
   "That's what we intended to do, come out and be aggressive with the bat and swing it," said Happy Valley coach Greg Hyder. "We hit the ball well early and made some things happen. Morgan really did it for us today and Buchanan threw well. I think he's three or four and zero for us this year."
   In the bottom of the second, Warrior first-baseman Jordy Harrison and Dykes got on base with singles, and Hampton starting pitcher Brandon Barnett walked Will Lowe to load the bases.
   Buchanan had a base hit to score Harrison, and with a fielder's choice at second base that sent Buchanan back to the dugout, Garland took first and Dykes crossed home plate to give Happy Valley 11 runs in two innings.
   "It was a tough game," said Hampton head coach Scotty Bunton. "Of course, I only had young pitchers. My pitchers, except for the last inning there, are all freshmen and sophomores. They don't know quite what to expect when you come into that game, so you try to prepare them. You try to tell them what to expect.
   "You're playing a fairly young team over there, but they have veterans that have played quite awhile. They're not going to give you anything. You have to earn what you get. That means you have to get everybody to put the bat on it. We didn't get that done, but that's what we expected."
   During Hampton's turn at bat in the third inning, designated hitter Cody Montgomery and Justin Waycaster took bases on balls, but a double play ended the inning as Happy Valley right-fielder Caldwell caught Ben Harrison out on the fly, and threw to Ryan Toney at third base to tag Waycaster out.
   In the bottom of the third, Caldwell took first base on an error, and advanced to third on a second error. He scored for the Warriors on a pass ball during Toney's at-bat. After Jordy Harrison got on with a single, Dykes knocked him in with a double to make the score 13-0.
   "We can't catch them, basically," Bunton said of his team's fielding performance. "We can't play on the field at all. The ones I'm expecting to just aren't doing it and we haven't been hitting. No credit away from them -- they did a good job. The pitcher did a good job on us. He pitched a really good game and didn't walk a lot of people until there at the end when he got a little tired."
   After Hampton sent Adam Miller to the mound in the fourth, Caldwell took first base on a walk and Whaley sent him home with a double. In the top of the fifth, Gene Sanchez got on base for Hampton as Zack Crabtree, who walked to first, was tagged out on a fielder's choice.
   Montgomery had the first hit for Hampton with a single and Buchanan walked Waycaster to load the bases. Ben Harrison pulled through for his team late in the game, hitting a double and collecting an RBI as Sanchez crossed home plate. A Warrior error put Miller on first base and sent Montgomery home for Hampton's second run.
   "Hampton played us two times tough last year," Hyder said. "Both times, they could have won and we remembered that. It's pretty much the same nucleus of kids we've got this year. They talked about it all day yesterday while we were hitting in practice. We knew we had to come out and play.
   "It's a county rivalry -- their kids want to beat our kids and we want to beat them. They have a better team than that, I really believe, but we just came out and jumped all over them."
   Morgan led the Happy Valley offense, batting 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Caldwell, 2-for-2 from the plate, made it to second base on both of his hits, and Whaley batted 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs and a double. Lowe got on base three times, hitting a triple good for three runs.
   Dykes was 2-for-2 from the plate with an RBI and a double, while Buchanan batted 1-for-2 and collected an RBI. For Hampton, Ben Harrison hit a double and earned an RBI, with Montgomery getting the Bulldogs' other hit and scoring on an error.
   "They hit it when they had to, and hit it where we weren't," Bunton said. "They put the bat on it, and people on base and scored a lot of runs. But if we make one or two little plays, that's a 4-3 ballgame or a 5-2 ballgame and we're still in it. Everything changes when that happens. Just take back two or three little errors there and the game is a little bit different."