Baseball: Wildcats rally past Hoggard; Tafoya posts shutout for Ashley; W. Brunswick advances to spring break finals is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

The New Hanover baseball team erased an early three-run deficit and Fulton Hill delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single later in the game as the Wildcats avenged last week’s setback to Hoggard with a 6-5 come-from-behind victory at Buck Hardee Field on Tuesday night.

Playing for the first time since falling to the Vikings in the spring break tournament, Caleb Bishop gritted his way through six-plus innings on the mound, while Adam Pecoraro recorded the final three outs to earn the save.

Fulton Hill. Photos by Joe Catenacci.
Fulton Hill. Photos by Joe Catenacci.

“Would we would have liked to win both games against Hoggard over the last two week? Of course,” said New Hanover Coach Richard Foy. “Both wins would have been nice, but if you had to pick one, you want the league win.”

Trailing 4-3 in the fourth with two outs and nobody on, Burke Estes kept the inning alive with a single to right. After Kyle Smith walked to put runners on first and second, Max Hildreth tied it at four with an RBI single to left. Hill followed with the game-winning base knock when the senior left fielder ripped a 3-1 pitch right up the box to plate Smith and Hildreth.

Hill went 1-for-2 at the plate, with three runs batted in. Hildreth added two hits in the contest and Pecoraro reached base three times with a double, bunt base hit and walk.

Hoggard took a 3-0 lead in their first at-bat after Brad Pennington, Hunter Gaylord and Connor Simpson crossed the plate. Matt Suggs picked up an RBI during the frame and Brad Wilkerson beat out an infield hit to add onto the Vikings’ cushion.

A pair of doubles down the left field line by Smith and Pecoraro in the bottom of the inning put New Hanover on the board as the Wildcats used a couple of base hits by Blake Walston and Lambert Long to pull within one after two full innings.

Brad Pennington.
Brad Pennington.

Hill tied the game in the third with a sacrifice fly to bring in Hildreth, while Bishop worked out of a jam unscathed after walking the bases loaded during the top of the frame.

J.P Graham put Hoggard back in front after being hit by a pitch in the fourth. He stole second and third and gave the Vikings a 4-3 edge after scoring on a wild throw after swiping his second bag of the night.

Bishop walked five and hit two batters, but struck out seven to earn the win.

“We had some better at-bats tonight and committed to hitting the ball hard,” Foy said. “Caleb didn’t have his command, but made some big pitches to keep us in the game and that’s his job. We don’t ask him to throw shutouts. We ask him to keep us in the game and he wanted to finish tonight.”

Gaylord was on base four times for the Vikings and Pennington had two of Hoggard’s three hits. Mike Ganz had an RBI ground out in the seventh to pull the visitors from Shipyard Boulevard within one, which set up the dramatic finish as Hoggard had the game-tying run left stranded at third on the final play of the game when Wilkerson was called out on a bang, bang play at first base.

New Hanover moved to 2-1 in conference and 9-2 overall. Hoggard saw its five-game winning streak come to an end, falling to 1-2 in the division and 9-2 on the year.

Box score                                 R H E

Hoggard           300  100  1      5   3  0

New Hanover   111  300  X    6   9   2



Ashley 3    Laney 0

Christian Tafoya struck out nine in a complete game one-hit shutout as Ashley blanked Laney 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Ethan Walters. Photo courtesy- John Crouch
Ethan Walters. Photo courtesy- John Crouch

Tafoya used 70 pitches through seven innings of work, while Ethan Walters smacked two doubles and finished with three runs batted in. Reggie Regan added three hits in the result.

Walters rocketed a two-run double to left in the third and the Screaming Eagles tacked on one more insurance run following Walters second extra base hit of the ball game.
The Screaming Eagles moved to 1-1 in conference and 5-6 overall. Laney dropped to 0-3 In the division and 4-8 on the year.


West Brunswick 4   West Columbus 2

The Trojans extended its win streak to 10 consecutive games following a 4-2 win over West Columbus.

Kevin Powers struck out seven in six strong innings for West Brunswick, while Tristan Lewis had two doubles in the ball game. Hunter Ashburn, Jonathan Carlyle and Tyler McDuffie each picked up an RBI. Ashburn also fanned two in a scoreless seventh inning of relief to get the save.

The Trojans grabbed their second straight comeback win after a three-run rally in the sixth. West Brunswick went ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first before West Columbus tied the game in the fourth. The Trojans committed five errors in the ball game and trailed 2-1 headed into the bottom of the sixth.

West Brunswick moved to 11-1 overall and face East Forsyth in the 2016 Touchstone Energy Beach Diamond Finals at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night.

East Forsyth 3    Pinecrest 2

Brandon Ammons. Photo courtesy- Impact Baseball
Brandon Ammons. Photo courtesy- Impact Baseball


Down to their final three outs and trailing by one, Tyler Howerton belted a two-strike pitch for a two-run triple as East Forsyth rallied to beat Pinecrest 3-2 in Shallotte on Tuesday afternoon.

Howerton drove in all three runs for the Eagles, who won their fifth straight game. East Forsyth starter Jacob Bunting turned in a strong performance in the no decision, tossing 5.1 innings. He allowed two runs on six hits, with two walks and on strikeout.

Pinecrest took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first before East Forsyth  responded with one in the second. Tanner Smith picked up the victory, with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief. Brandon Ammons and Landon Mitchell recorded the other two hits in the ballgame for the Eagles, while Harrison Hayse and Brendan Emery had a run scored.

East Forsyth improved to 8-3 overall.