RABBITTOWN -- White County pulled into East Hall Park Wednesday with the mindset of having to win every game for the remainder of the season against tough opponents -- like East Hall -- to claim its spot in the post-season.
It would take everything the Warriors could muster, but they stuck to their task in a 2-1 win that left White County head coach John Brown at a loss for words.
"Wow! I have been coaching for a long time, nearly 46 years and in all those years I have never witnessed a game quite like this. It was a true fight on the field," said coach Brown.
A defensive battle from the start, both teams had stellar performances on the mound, complemented by superb fielding.
East Hall's Jack Hagwood (2-3) pitched the team's first complete game of the season, giving up nine hits, striking out five and allowing only two runs.
Meanwhile, White County's Joel Pritchett tossed a gem for five innings before taking a line drive off his foot and being forced out of the game due to the injury. (The injury is thought to be a deep bruise to the lower half of his right foot.) In five innings of work Pritchett had seven strikeouts, allowed zero runs and gave up just two hits, one of which was the line drive off his foot.
Matthew Hambrick replaced the injured Pritchett and managed four strikeouts, one run allowed and three hits. Yet two of those hits came in the bottom of the seventh inning, leading coach Brown to bring in ace Spencer Adams.
"I really didn't intend on pitching Spencer tonight, I wanted to save him, but I had to do something to alter the hot streak that the Vikings were on," said coach Brown.
Early in the game White County was the hot team, scoring both of its runs within the first three innings. The Warriors scored their first run in the first inning when Matthew Hambrick (1 for 4 on the night, 2 runs scored) singled to center and later cross home plate after Adams (3 for 4 on the night, 2 singles, 1 double, 2 RBI) laced a liner to left field for a double.
The second of two Warrior runs came with two outs in the third inning. When, again, Hambrick, who reached on a fielders' choice, scored on a Stetson Gearin (2 for 4 on the night, 2 singles, 1 RBI) single to right field.
The lone run for the Vikings would come in the sixth inning courtesy a Garrett Bishop RBI groundout to second base, scoring Jack Hagwood -- who had reached base on a double to left field that nearly left the ballpark.
East Hall held the Warriors scoreless in the top half of the seventh and quickly placed two runners in scoring position in the bottom half. Triston Cooper (1 for 3 on the night, 1 single, 1 walk) singled to start the inning and gave way to pinch runner Jesse Cooper, who advanced to third on a Caleb Holtzclaw double.
Enter Adams, though he didn't have to do much, as his defense handled most of the work. East Hall attempted a squeeze play, with Cooper charging from third, but a missed bunt resulted in Cooper being caught in a rundown. Stewart, who was attempting to advance to third on the play, was also tagged out, sealing the outcome.
"The win tonight really kind of stabilized the morale of the team and set us on the right path to make a run at the playoff," said coach Brown.
It was a vital win for the Warriors, keeping the team within in reach of the post-seaon. The team travel to Dawson County tomorrow for a make-up game. East Hall will travel to West Hall Friday.