Home Local Sports ‘One bad inning’ costs Hamlet in game against Mocksville

‘One bad inning’ costs Hamlet in game against Mocksville

Starting pitcher Tanner Cheek (left) tags out Parker Simmons during Hamlet's loss to Mocksville.
Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

MOCKSVILLE — An early lead didn’t hold for the Hamlet American Legion baseball team during its second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

After defeating Concord Post 51 in game one to open its season, Post 49 fell by a final score of 12-5 to Mocksville Post 174.

Head coach Chip Gordon said “the score wasn’t indicative” of how Hamlet played, and noted that one bad inning in the middle of the game led to the team’s first defeat.

“We had one bad inning that kind of shifted the momentum,” Gordon explained. “Some of that stuff was out of our control, but we know we can do better. We walked too many guys.

“There were times we had runners in scoring position and didn’t get them over the plate,” he added. “We’ll continue to work on our at-bats and I was pleased with how our first two games went.”

Scoring all of its runs in the first two innings, Hamlet took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. With two outs, Cameron Way put Post 49 on the board with a solo blast to left field.

Clearing the wall, Way muscled a 1-2 offering from starting pitcher Darren Shore (6.0 innings, five runs, five hits).

Cameron Way (12) is greeted by teammates after his first homer of the summer. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Michael Norris kept the inning going by reaching on an error, and moved to third thanks to another error and a stolen base. He made it 2-0 when he stole home, timing his jump perfectly against Shore’s delivery.

Tanner Cheek drew a walk and came home when Jake Clemmons lasered an RBI double to the left field corner.

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Mocksville answered with three runs in the home half off Cheek (3.0 innings, eight runs, seven hits). Post 174 loaded the bases and scored on a balk and two wild pitches.

Hamlet again mustered some two-out magic in the top of the second to take a 5-3 lead. With Tristan Hunt on third (fielder’s choice), Ra’Nik Little reached on an error at short to score Hunt.

An RBI single on a line drive to center from Way in the next at-bat brought in Little for Hamlet’s final run of the game.

Michael Norris (left) and Jake Clemmons (right) celebrate a run in the top of the second inning. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

A six-run bottom of the fourth inning broke the game open for Mocksville. After Post 174 took a 6-5 lead, Cheek was replaced by Way on the mound. Way threw 1.0 inning, and gave up one run on one hit.

Hamlet sent four batters to the plate in the fifth and sixth innings, but couldn’t score. Post 49 stranded eight runners on base in the loss.

Mocksville added three runs in the bottom of the sixth off Hunt (2.0 innings, three runs, two hits) to secure the win.

Way’s three hits and two RBIs were both team-highs for Hamlet, and adding a hit each were Cheek, Clemmons, Ra’Nik Little, Norris and Ayden Allen. Clemmons had the team’s other RBI.

“I’m tremendously proud of how the guys played today,” Gordon closed. “They played their butts off for two straight games and were in both games every pitch. That’s all we can ask them to do, and they hustled from the first pitch to the last.”

Hamlet (1-1) will return to play next Friday with a road game against Stanly County Post 76. That game will be played at West Stanly High School and start at 7 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a nine-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.