Warriors lose to North, exit 1-AA tourney

By Wes Holtsclaw

   After Monday night's game, the Happy Valley Warriors were hoping for something better.
   It just wouldn't come at the expense of the Sullivan North Golden Raiders.
   In Tuesday night's must-win District 1-AA losers' bracket battle, the Warriors let an opening lead slip due to an array of hitting, courtesy of the Golden Raiders, and never could come back.
   North elminated the last Carter County team remaining in the tourney, 11-1, in five innings at Joe O'Brien Field.
   The regular season conference champions had to face the same things they did the night before behind the plate, and according to Coach Greg Hyder, it dampened the team's mood.
   "We won the conference and then we come here and get two of the worst called games I've ever seen in my life," said Hyder. "It makes the team lose their focus because there's no consistency behind the plate."
   Hyder and several Warrior fans expressed their opinions after the game, but would not blame the umpiring for their performance.
   "We're not making any excuses," Hyder added.
   Geoff Hinkle was the deciding factor for Sullivan North.
   Hinkle threw a solid five-inning game, only allowing three hits in the first inning. He was also stellar behind the plate, going 2-for-3 with three ribbies.
   "North played good," said the Happy Valley coach. "Hinkle threw a good game (against us)."
   Chris Heaton also had two hits with two RBIs, while Jon Yates added an RBI single for the Golden Raiders.
   Ryan Garland led off with a single to open the game for the Warriors, and later scoring on a sacrificed fly from senior Tim Whaley to give the Warriors a one-run lead.
   North scored four runs in the first inning and two in the fourth, before exploding with five runs in the fifth inning.
   Happy Valley could never come back, hitting into strong defense.
   After the game, Hyder had nothing but good things to say about the team's regular season, which included 24 wins and the school's first outwright conference championship.
   However, he was highly displeased in the way the games were called behind the plate.
   "When he's not giving us outs on strikeouts and they get hits after it, it hurts us," Hyder said. "We expect to keep moving on."
   The team returns almost everybody next season.
   Ryan Toney picked up the loss from the mound for the Warriors.