After leaving 13 runners on base through 10 innings, Brandon Boone delivered a two-run single in the top of the 11th to help guide Hoggard 4-1 over New Hanover in a contest that lasted over three hours at Buck Hardee Field on Tuesday night.
The Vikings took control of second place in the Mideastern Conference standings with the victory and improved to 7-3 in conference and 12-6 overall.
“It’s a Hoggard, New Hanover rivalry and anything can happen when we play each other,” said Boone. “The first time we played it came down to the last inning and knew we’d have to be dialed in tonight. I was just able to get the bat head out in front on a curve ball and was able to get it down the line.”
Boone started on the mound for Hoggard and tossed eight innings, allowing just one unearned run on one hit with eight strikeouts and six walks.
Brad Pennington earned the win from 60-feet, 6 inches as the righty fanned two in the bottom of the 11th, and induced a ground out to Boone at shortstop for the final out of the ballgame. The junior wiggled out of two situations in the ninth and 10th with runners in scoring position and less than two outs.
“Honestly, I felt like we should have been up by five runs after two innings,” said Pennington. “We left way to many runners on base and the way Boone was throwing I didn’t see this game going 11 innings.”
With the game locked at one in the 11th, Sam Schmidt led off with a single to left and J.P Graham hit a humpback liner over the second baseman as runners moved to second and third on a fielding error in right field.
After Pennington was given a free pass to load the bases, Boone pulled a 2-1 pitch just inside the third base line to break the stalemate. Luke McKeithan then executed a sacrifice bunt to set the table for Mitch Cadby, who gave the Vikings a three-run cushion with a base hit up the box.
Pennington, Cadby and Robert Wilkerson finished with two hits apiece, while Schmidt went 3-for-4 in the nine slot for Hoggard.
“I thought it was foul when I hit it, but with the insurance runs in that last inning, it let us settle down a bit and was able to make the final out in the field,” said Boone. “There’s nothing better than beating New Hanover twice in a year. I love those guys in the other dugout, but it was good to be able to get the win on their senior night.”
Trey Croom suffered the loss after 5.1 innings in relief of Caleb Bishop.
The Vikings went up 1-0 in the first off an RBI single by McKeithan, but Bishop left runners stranded on first and second with back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the jam. Hoggard also left the bases loaded in the second and fifth as Bishop finished his day, allowing one run on eight hits in 5.2 innings.
New Hanover tied the game in the third after Adam Pecararo worked a leadoff walk. Lambert Long executed a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner and Pecararo crossed the plate later in the frame on a fielding error at third.
The Wildcats had runners on base three separate times in extra innings, but were unable to come up with the big hit as Pennington dug deep to get strikeouts in the ninth and 10th to bulldog his way out of trouble.
New Hanover fell to 5-4 in league play and 13-6 on the year.
Box score R H E
Hoggard 100 000 000 03 4 13 1
NHHS 001 000 000 00 1 3 2
WP: Brad Pennington LP: Trey Croom