Hoggard falls to Leesville Road in 4A baseball playoffs

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

4A Tournament

No. 9 Leesville Road 3    No. 8 Hoggard 1

Leesville Road used big plays in the field and one big inning at the plate to hand Hoggard a 3-1 season-ending setback at Corbin Field in Wilmington.

Ryan Sande allowed just one earned run on three hits and struck out six over seven innings of work to earn the victory.

“The one thing I can say about the guys is that they were in the game from the first pitch until the final out tonight,” said Hoggard Coach Jeep St. Ledger. “That was a great high school game. They made the big plays when they needed to and things could have gone a little differently for us in certain situations, but that’s baseball.”

Julian Blackburn. Photos by Joe Catenacci
Julian Blackburn. Photos by Joe Catenacci.

After getting a runner thrown out at home plate following a double to right-center by Brad Pennington in the bottom of the first, the Vikings scratched one across when Luke McKeithan hit a sacrifice fly to right to give Hoggard an early 1-0 lead.

Julian Blackburn wiggled out of trouble in the first two frames before Jack Conley worked a leadoff walk to start the third. Back-to-back fielding miscues by the Vikings allowed Leesville Road to tie the game and Jakob Arnold put the Pride in front with a fly-out to center. Leading 2-1 with two outs in the inning, Derrick Barnes smacked an RBI single through the left side to give the Pride a two-run advantage.

Leesville Road scored three runs on two hits and two errors, while Sande got a little help from his fielders later in the game to advance in the tournament.

“It was a long day for our kids, but they were mentally tough and battled,” said Leesville Road Coach Guy Civitello. “We knew Hoggard wasn’t going to go away. They pulled out a seventh-inning win earlier this week and they fought right to the end.”

Jack Conley.
Jack Conley.

With the Vikings down two in the fifth, Justin Blackburn walked to start the inning and Sam Schmidt doubled to the gap in left-center to put runners in scoring position, but Trenton Selden robbed J.P. Graham of a potential run scoring base hit when the senior second baseman snagged a humpback liner headed to right field, while Sande induced a grounder to first for the final out of the inning.

“I thought we tied the game right there on that ball hit by J.P. Graham, but they made a heck of play over there at second and things would have been tied up if it drops,” said St. Ledger. “I’m just proud that the guys battled all game.”

Hoggard also left a pair of runners stranded in the seventh to finish the year 16-9 overall. Schmidt and Pennington both doubled and Blackburn recorded a single in the seventh for the only three hits of the game.

Sande and Jimmy Cawley finished with two hits apiece, while Derrick Barnes went 1-for-1 with a pair of sacrifice bunts to pace Leesville Road.

“Julian [Blackburn] deserved a better fate,” said St. Ledger. “He pitched great tonight, but you have to tip your hat to Leesville Road for chipping away and playing a great defensive game.”

The Vikings closed the year at 16-9 overall. Leesville Road heads to round three of the 4A playoffs next week.

Box score                   R  H   E

Leesville  003  000 0   3  7    1

Hoggard  100 000 0    1   3    2

WP: Ryan Sande       LP: Julian Blackburn