ROCKINGHAM — By the time Rockingham got its offense going against Huntersville, it was a little too late.
After being held to one hit over four innings, Rockingham recorded three in the final two and scored three runs.
But Huntersville had built a 4-0 lead after four and tacked on an insurance run in the fifth to hold on for a 5-3 victory in the nightcap Wednesday night at Browder Park.
“That was disheartening,” Rockingham coach Danny Lampley said. “We came out flat.”
Huntersville took advantage of Rockingham’s mindset in the second and fourth innings.
In both frames, Bryce Meacham got things started for Huntersville by flashing a little power. In the second he sent a line drive just over the fence in right for a solo home run.
Huntersville added another run in the second as Aiden Evans reached on an error in the second and stole second with two outs. Evans swiped third and scored when Colin Wheeler’s throw bounced into left field for another error.
In the fourth, Meacham sent a pitch the opposite way over the fence in left-center for another solo shot.
Evans played a key role in Huntersville scoring its final run of the frame once again. Following Meacham’s home run, Owen Lally reached on a base on balls by Trey Way. Lally stole second and moved to third on Joe Sides’ single to left. With Evans up, Sides swiped second. Evans followed with a ground out to short, but on the play Lally raced home. Way silenced the rally by coaxing Mike Maroney to ground out.
Rockingham responded in the fifth and get back into the game. Tyler Mabe walked to open the frame and moved to second on Jude Howard’s ground out to the pitcher. After Harley Honeycutt popped out, Mabe advanced to third on a wild pitch. Matthew Walker walked and stole second. Trey Way followed with a single to score Mabe. Cameron Way then ripped a single, allowing Walker and Trey Way to race home. J.D. Lampley walked to chase Huntersville reliever Brian Hearn. Tanner Allison pulled his team out of the fire by striking out Wheeler to end the inning.
Huntersville added an insurance run in the fifth on Jacob Gorman’s double down the left-field line.
Rockingham attempted to rally in the top of the sixth as Tate Fann singled to open the inning. Maroney, Huntersville’s fifth pitcher of the game, struck out Donavan Gadson for the first out. Hunter Hancock grounded out to the pitcher as Fann moved up to second. Maroney picked up the save by striking out Ashton Phifer to end the contest.
Despite the loss and being eliminated from the Pony League South Region tournament, Danny Lampley was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I’m proud because we didn’t get blown out. We were close in every game,” he said. “We closed the gap between these teams from last year. We have gotten better. Next year I hope to close it even more.”
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.