Dogs Take Bite out of Griffins

WINNSBORO – Walks and errors – a baker’s dozen of the former and eight of the latter – made for a long night for Fairfield Central. In the opposite dugout, meanwhile, the accurate left-hander from Newberry was having a career night, dusting the Griffins with smoke and finesse and using his bat to help lead the Bulldogs to an 11-2 region win Tuesday night.

Newberry’s Kevis Burton went all seven on the mound, giving up just two hits and walking three while striking out 12 Griffins. The southpaw used 108 pitches to seal the deal and was dealing a no-hitter going into the fourth.

Burton also staked the Dogs to an early 3-0 lead, drilling a 3-2 two-out pitch from Markell Whittaker high and over the right-center field fence for a 3-run dinger.

The Griffins got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the frame when Akeem Foster, who drew a walk from Burton with two down, stole second and came in on a fielding error by Newberry third baseman Pat Yoder. Yoder let a ground ball off the bat of Whittaker dribble between his legs and into left field, giving the Griffins a brief flash of life. Whittaker was picked off at first one pitch later to end the minor threat.

Whittaker, making his first appearance of the year on the mound, walked the leadoff batter in each of the 4.1 innings he worked Tuesday. Tydarius Young came on and finished the fifth, then walked the leadoff batter to start the sixth. Six of the 13 free passes eventually came around to score, as did the one hit batsman of the night, plunked by Whittaker in the top of the second.

“How many walks did we have? A lot,” Griffins head coach Scotty Dean said. “I knew it was going to be that way. We talked about it. That was a decision the staff and I made. Now the thought process was if we could get it close towards the end, we were going to come with something.”

Dean said he was saving the meat of his staff for Thursday’s key region game against Pelion.

“That’s the number two team in the region,” Dean said of Newberry. “We’re not going to catch them. In order for us to get in the playoffs, we need to win Thursday (against Pelion), so we’re going to throw the kitchen sink at them – all of our pitchers. I didn’t want to get into a spot where we needed somebody to pitch on Thursday and they’ve already thrown a lot of pitches in this game.”

Newberry tacked on another in the top of the third when Adam Kesler scored on an error, but Whittaker was able to nail Newberry runners advancing to third on back-to-back bunt attempts, limiting the damage.

Somehow, the Griffins managed to stay right on the heels of Newberry, trailing just 4-1 heading into the fifth, but the Dogs broke things open in that fateful frame. Back-to-back walks and an RBI single ended the night for Whittaker and Young came on and struggled to find the strike zone, walking the first three batters he faced. Young then got Andrew Livingston to pop out to Whittaker, now playing second, but a 2-out, 2RBI double by Ryne Huggins tore the lid off.

The Bulldogs had plated nine by the time the dust cleared and had the Griffins on the ropes, 9-1.

Foster added the final Griffin run in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the inning with a triple that just missed clearing the center field fence and coming home on an error by Newberry second baseman Kesler.

A walk and four Griffin errors gave Newberry two more runs in the sixth, and Burton came back to the hill in the bottom half and mowed the Griffins down in order, striking out the last two batters he faced.

NHS: 0-3-1 0-5-0 2 – 11-5-2

FC: 0-1-0 0-1-0 0 – 2-2-8

Pitching: NHS—K. Burton (W), 7IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 12K, 26TBF, 108P, 65S, 43B. FC—M. Whittaker (L) 4.1IP, 4H, 7R, 3ER, 8BB, 1K, 1HB, 1BK, 28TBF, 80P, 33S, 47B. T. Young, 2.2IP, 0H, 4R, 0ER, 5BB, 2K, 17TBF, 67P, 31S, 67B.

Hitting: HR—K. Burton (NHS), 3B—A. Foster (FC), 2B—V. Beaver (FC), R. Huggins (NHS). LOB: NHS—11; FC—2.

 

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