ROCKINGHAM — Before the Pony League Bronco Piedmont Section tournament started several coaches tabbed West Raleigh as the favorite to win.
It showed why Tuesday night.
West Raleigh slugged the first two home runs of the tourney en route to posting an 18-3 victory over Rockingham 12. On the mound West Raleigh was just as strong as four pitchers limited Rockingham to three hits.
“We can’t make errors against them,” Rockingham coach Mike Hudson said. “We knew we had to play a perfect game to beat them.”
West Raleigh got things started in the first inning as Josh Holloman drew a walk to open the contest before Cole Thompson struck out. Evan Harding launched an offering from Logan Moore over the fence in right center for a 2-run home run. Ben Peterson followed with a solo shot to center.
Rockingham attempted to respond in the bottom of the first. Evan Hudson ripped the first pitch from Peterson into left field, but Thompson made a running catch on the line drive.
Mike Hudson thought Thompson’s play could have been the turning point in the contest. After falling behind 3-0, he thought if his team could have scored, things may have been different.
“I didn’t make a big deal on the two home runs because they only scored three runs,” Mike Hudson said. “When Evan’s ball didn’t fall, I think that kind of deflated us.”
Rockingham managed just one base runner in the first three innings against Peterson and Cole Oxendine. West Raleigh, on the other hand, was sending eight batters to the plate in the second, 11 in the third and eight more in the fourth.
“We didn’t make the plays we needed to make,” Mike Hudson said. “It seemed like there was a lack of effort on some of the plays. There was no fight in them.”
Rockingham finally dented the plate in the fourth. Kade Stewart and Christopher Austin walked to start the rally. Bryson Lampley doubled down the left-field line to score Stewart. Moore followed with a single to plate both Austin and Lampley. West Raleigh reliever Richie Van Tassel was able to escape further damage by coaxing Zach Mabe to line out into a double play and recording a strike out.
In the nightcap, Garner knocked off Southwest Randolph 7-6.
The Rockingham 12 will return to action 3 p.m. today against Rockingham 11 in an elimination game. In the second elimination game scheduled for Wednesday, Archdale will take on Southwest Randolph at 5 p.m. The two winners of the early games will battle at 7 p.m.
West Raleigh and Garner will have the day off and will square off 5 p.m. Thursday.
Pony team rained out
HIGH POINT — The Rockingham Pony team took its at-bat in the top of the first and scored two runs before a rain storm forced to game to be postponed.
Rockingham and Henry County will continue their game at 6 p.m. today.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.