Bowers pitches, hits Cyclones past 'Dogs

By Tim Chambers

   The "big dog" took it upon himself to take a bite out of the Bulldogs Friday night at Joe O'Brien Field.
   Travis Bowers put on an awesome display of pitching and hitting to lead the Cyclones over Hampton 7-3 Friday on senior night in a Watauga Conference matchup.
   "My teammates were doing a great job of getting on base and that allowed me to get some good pitches to hit," stated Bowers. One of those would be catcher Nathan Bishop who crossed the plate four times, reaching base safely each time at bat.
   Hampton took a 1-0 lead in the first as Ben Harrison reached on an error and later scored on a single by Brandon Barnett. Barnett was tagged out after a rundown to end the inning.
   Bishop led off the bottom half of the first with a triple and later scored off a single by Bowers tying the contest at one each. Bowers kept the Bulldogs bats in check for the next two innings allowing singles to Cody Montgomery, Justin Waycaster, and Gene Sanchez but the Dogs were unable to muster any runs off Bowers.
   The Cyclones struck for three in the third as Ryan Kennedy led off with a single and later scored off two Bulldogs errors that allowed Bishop and Nat Treadway to reach. Another single from Bowers was good for an RBI and a 4-1 advantage.
   'Betsy added a solo run in the fifth when Bishop reached on an error and Nate Treadway singled to start the inning. Bowers collected his third RBI on a solid single to plate Bishop but Barnett was able to pitch out the jam by getting two pop-up and a strikeout to end the inning.
   Hampton took advantage of some Cyclones miscues in the sixth to cut the margin at 5-3. Harrison laced a single to left while Barnett reached on an error. Another error and a fielder's choice allowed both runners to score giving the Bulldogs new life.
   'Betsy refused to give in scoring two insurance runs with two outs in the sixth inning to go on top 7-3. Kennedy laid down a perfect bunt for a single and while Bishop reached on a fielder's choice trying to squeeze in Alex Graves from third who was ruled out at the plate.
   Bowers proved to be the thorn in the Bulldogs' side a fourth time lining a single to left for another RBI. A passed ball allowed the final run to score.
   Four was the number for the "big dog" Bowers with four hits in four at bats with four RBI's on the evening. Kennedy added a 2 for 3 night scoring two times. Bishop and Treadway added hits for the Cyclones.
   Bowers got the win giving up seven hits on the evening.
   "My defense played well tonight," added Bowers. "Nathan (Bishop) was outstanding behind the plate."
   Barnett was the big gun for the 'Dogs, going 2 for 3 while turning in an outstanding pitching performance.
   "We had our chances but just couldn't take advantage of them," stated Barnett.
   Waycaster, Harrison, Montgomery, Sanchez and Trivette added hits for the Dogs.
   "It wasn't pretty but it was a good win," stated Cyclone head coach Steve "Pink" McKinney. "We've played a lot of games in the past few days."
   "Our kids played hard and we did the things we had to do to win this game. Hampton always plays us tough."
   "It's frustrating," said Hampton head coach Scotty Bunton. "Brandon (Barnett) pitched well enough to win but we didn't give him the support he needed.
   "We've got some things that need fixing before tournament time."