MOREHEAD CITY — The Red team for the Big Rock Fall Baseball League at Big Rock Stadium on Wednesday improved to 1-1 with a 7-4 win over Orange.
The two teams met in the first of two straight contests for Orange on Puck O’Neal Field. Orange went on to lose 6-1 against the Royal Blue team in the nightcap.
The Red team got off to a hot start with a 5-1 lead after two innings and held on until the game was called off in the bottom of the sixth due to a two-hour time restriction implemented on the developmental league.
After the game, players mingled with one another, high school teammates wearing opposite-colored shirts and rivals celebrating a win together. It’s one of the benefits of an ad hoc baseball league, one deemed ultra-necessary after spring prep ball was canceled due to COVID-19.
“It’s fun because we didn’t get to play with any of our friends during the season,” Red player Jarrett Hall said. “It gives us a chance to meet new people, but then there was an at-bat where my friend (and West Carteret teammate) C.J. Garner was up at bat while I was pitching, and we kind of smiled at each other. It’s fun to test yourself against the guys you missed playing with.”
There is still a lingering fear that prep sports, which were postponed until at least November with an amended schedule when school began in August, may not really happen in the upcoming spring. At the very least, workouts will be spread out and not as populated under coronavirus restrictions.
“We don’t know what kind of workouts we’re going to be able to have, so this has been really valuable,” Hall said. “Without a season last year and a light season this year, there hasn’t been a lot of opportunities to really play.”
The schools represented in the league are West Carteret, East Carteret, Croatan, Havelock, Swansboro and Gramercy Christian. To that end, coaches have connections to the high schools. The Red coach Dalton Knight, for instance, was a 2011 West graduate.
“A lot of these guys have played together and know of each other. They’re all local, so they’re meshing well,” he said. “Everyone played tonight, and everyone played Monday. It was a collective team win.”
Hall was the standout player of the game, pitching a scoreless 1 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and hitting 2-for-3 at the plate with four RBIs and a run. His first hit of the game was a triple in the first inning that drove in Jackson Sproul and Colston Norris for the 2-1 lead. A Blaine Norris double drove in Hall for the final run of the at-bat.
Orange had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the frame with Bryan Garner, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring on a Jacob Nelson double. Nelson hit 2-for-2 on the night with a run in the third inning. He reached on a single just like Garner, with both coming home on wild pitches.
Sproul and Norris also scored second runs in their next at-bats. In the bottom of the second inning, Sproul reached on an error while Norris was walked. Both scored on a single from Hall.
The Orange team closed the gap to a single run with Andrew Frazier reaching on a single and coming across on a sacrifice grounder from Garner.
Up 5-4, the Red team got insurance in the fifth inning with runs from Thomas Hernandez and Norris. Norris was hit by a pitch to get on base and scored on a wild pitch, while Hernandez was walked and scored on an error.
On the mound for Orange, Chase Locklear struck out two and allowed just one earned run through two innings to relieve Garner, who also pitched two frames and struck out five with three hits and as many earned runs allowed.
The next game on the schedule for the Red team is against the Royal Blue team on Monday at 5:45 p.m.
The Orange team will take on the Marlin Blue team at 8 p.m. on Monday.
All games will be played at Big Rock Stadium.
Here are results of the game:
BIG ROCK FALL BASEBALL
Team R H E
Orange……..102 100 x - 4 6 4
Red……...…320 02x x - 7 3 1
WP – Nelson
LP – Garner
Orange leading hitters: Nelson 2-2 (2B), RBI, run; Garner 1-2, 2 runs; Frazier 1-3, run; Williams 1-1; Mason 1-1.
Red leading hitters: Hall 2-3, 4 RBIs, run; B. Norris 1-1, RBI, run.