Cougars Beat 'Hounds, Stumble Against Rebels
Rector (9-9) and Marmaduke (5-14) opened up the 2A-3 district baseball tournament last Wednesday in Lepanto. Rector scored a run in the bottom of sixth to gain a 3-2 win.
Greyhound Jesse Haller and Cougar Adam Dinkins locked up in a pitcher's duel. Neither pitcher allowed a hit over the first three innings. Rector did get on the board in the bottom of the third. Blaine Murray advanced to second on an overthrow to first base to put a runner in scoring position for Rector. Murray moved to third on a ground out by Dinkins and scored on a ground out by Sam Westbrook to make it 1-0 Rector.
Marmaduke responded with two runs in the top of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Hayden Winberry singled with one out and advanced to second on an error. Haller reached on an error to put runners at the corner. Josh Roberts doubled to bring in Winberry and Roberts scored when Bryson Massey reached on an error to make the score 2-1 Greyhounds.
Rector tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of fifth as Dinkins led off with a double. Dinkins scored on a single by Lawson Ford to tie the game. The Cougars took the lead in the bottom of the sixth as Brian Hufty walked to start the inning. Alex Scott singled with Hufty going to third when the outfielder misplayed the ball. Nick Hardin lofted a sacrifice fly to center field bring in Hufty with what proved toe be the game winning run.
The Greyhounds got two runners on in the top of the seventh, but Dinkins struck out the final two batters to end the game.
Dinkins got the win for Rector, pitching all seven innings. He allowed two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out 14.
Ford, Garrett Buck, Hufty and Dinkins each had a hit for Rector. Hufty, Murray and Dinkins each scored a run with Ford and Hardin each driving in a run for the Cougars.
Haller took the loss for Marmaduke as he pitched all six innings. Haller gave up three runs on four hits while striking out two and hitting one batter.
Roberts led the Greyhounds at the plate with a hit, run scored and a RBI as Winberry had a hit and run scored.
Rector fell to Riverside 2-1 in eight innings the following day ending their season at 9-10.
The contest broke down into a pitcher's duel between Rector's Nick Hardin and Riverside's Colin Stone, as neither team was able to score through the first three innings.
Riverside was able to go ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, and maintained this lead for three innings.
Facing two outs, senior Alec Scott kept the Cougars alive in the top of the seventh, smacking a base hit to center to bring in Dinkins for the tying run, leaving the score at 1-1. Rector managed four hits in the top of the seventh, but was only able to produce one run.
"That was a big hit by Alec," RHS head coach Nate Henderson said. "It was a clutch at-bat from one of our three seniors."
Riverside capitalized in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring the winning run on a two out base hit with runners on first and second.
Hardin performed well on the mound, despite the loss, finishing the complete game with two runs on four hits while walking three and ringing up 12 batters.
"Nick had a really solid day," Henderson said. "He definitely threw well enough to win. It was just a hard-fought game by both teams."
The contest marked the final outing for Cougar seniors Dinkins, Scott and Josh Loveless.
"Those three seniors are all starters and have been key contributors to this program," Henderson said. "They're going to be missed, not just for their talents as players, but also because of the type of young men they are."
RHS will have a strong nucleus returning next season, with eight underclassmen having seen time as starters this season. Additionally, the program's junior high team, which wrapped up its first season recently, will help prepare upcoming freshman for the jump to the high school game.