03/29/07 — Spring Creek miscues prove costly versus Princeton

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Spring Creek miscues prove costly versus Princeton

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on March 29, 2007 1:48 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Both Princeton coach Bruce Proctor and Spring Creek coach Heath Whitfield acknowledge this should have been a close game.

Instead, Spring Creek made mistake after mistake in helping state-ranked Princeton to a 10-2 road victory in the two teams' Carolina Conference 1-A opener at "the Swamp" on Wednesday night.

The Gators' miscues included six costly errors, six bases on balls and two batters hit by pitches.

"When you do those types of things it's going to be really tough to win against a ballclub like Princeton's got," said Whitfield. "We kicked the ball around and had six errors and had six walks. You can't give up that many extra baserunners against a team like that and expect to have a chance to win."

Princeton would take full advantage of the extra outs, starting in the top of the third inning in a 1-1 game.

Michael Radford hit a fly ball into a heavy wind toward right field that was misplayed by Adam Hinson. Colin Parker was then hit by a Ray Grady pitch, putting runners on first and second with no outs.

Daniel Gerrell then hit a ground ball that was misplayed by shortstop Timmy Rogers that allowed Radford to come home. Parker and Gerrell would then score on consecutive wild pitches, giving the Bulldogs a 4-1 lead.

Spring Creek had a chance to get right back into the game when the Gators loaded the bases with one out -- without the aid of a hit -- in the bottom of the inning.

Starter Chris Hinton didn't get a rattled and struck out Anthony Brogden swinging and got a big play from his catcher to end the threat. Following a pitch to Grady, Gerrell threw behind the runner at third and got him into a rundown. Third baseman Dustin Pate applied the tag to Kevin Prunest to end the inning without any damage being done.

"Anytime you can help a pitcher out by doing that it is big," said Proctor. "We didn't handle the rundown really well, but we did it good enough. It was definitely a big out."

The Bulldogs again took advantage of Spring Creek mistakes in the fourth inning when they got the first two hitters on via a walk and another error.

A sacrifice fly by Parker brought one run home and a wind-aided triple by Gerrell scored another to make it 6-1 Princeton.

Two more Spring Creek errors in the fifth inning allowed Princeton to score two runs without a hit and go up 8-1.

"If they don't beat themselves then it's a tight ballgame," Proctor said.

On the mound, Hinton coasted.

The hurler limited Spring Creek to five hits in six innings of work while allowing two runs and striking out eight to pick up his third win against one loss.

"(Chris) did a good job throwing strikes," said Proctor. "We're really pleased with his pitching effort."

One of the lone bright spots for the Gators came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Alex Casey belted a home run over the right field wall.

"That's what we've been preaching is waiting on the ball and trying to stay back on it," said Whitfield. "(Alex) did a good job on that pitch and got the ball up into that wind."

Ryan Daughtry relieved Hinton in the seventh and struck out the side to close out Princeton's win.

"It's a nice way to start of conference play," said Proctor, whose team improved to 6-4 (1-0). "We put the ball in play and made some things happen."

For the Bulldogs, Parker finished 1-for-1 with a double, two runs scored and a sacrifice fly. Daughtry was a beast on the base paths stealing three bags on the night.

"Ryan looked good," said Proctor. "He ran the bases really well. That aggressiveness really helped us out."

The Gators (7-3, 0-1) got run scoring hits from Casey and Brogden.

"We're going to keep fighting," said Whitfield. "We just have to get more baseball smarts."

Princeton 103 222 0 -- 10 6 0

Spring Creek 100 010 0 -- 2 5 6

Leading Hitters -- Princeton -- Michael Radford 1-4, 2B, 2 R; Colin Parker 1-1, 2B, 2 R, RBI; Daniel Gerrell 1-4, 3B, R, 2 RBI; Ryan Daughtry 1-5, R, RBI; Chris Hinton 1-3, R, RBI. Spring Creek -- Alex Casey 1-2, HR; Timmy Rogers 1-2, 2B, R; Anthony Brogden 1-3, RBI.

DP -- Spring Creek 1. LOB -- Princeton 9, Spring Creek 4. SB -- Daughtry 3, Radford, Cobb. CS -- Brogden, Hinton, Prunest. S -- Parker, Gammon, Best. SF -- Parker.



Hinton (W, 3-1) 6 5 2 2 3 8

Daughtry 1 0 0 0 0 3

Spring Creek

Grady (L, 2-1) 3 2 5 2 3 4

Prunest 3 4 5 3 2 2

Casey 1 1 0 0 1 1

(Grady pitched to one batter in the fourth). WP -- Hinton, Grady 2, Prunest 2. PB -- Gammon 2. HBP -- by Hinton (Casey), by Grady (Parker), by Prunest (Nethercutt).