Sand Gnats Take One from Pirates
After taking a beating from the Tri-County Pirates just a week earlier the Sandhills Sand Gnats finally entered the win column last Sunday with a come-from-behind road win against a team that was tied for first place in the Central North Carolina Men's Adult League.
"I thought this was a great team win with most of the heroics coming from starting pitcher Greg Patterson, who went the distance," said Dan Johnson, the Sand Gnats player/manager, "and infielder William Garner with a big clutch hit."
The Sand Gnats are a local 35-and-over baseball team that is in its second year of existence. They are now 1-2 for the season.
The Pirates took a two-run lead in the bottom of the first, using just one hit combined with three walks and an error to get the runs.
Trailing 2-0 entering the top of the fourth, Gnat shortstop John Megyas led off with single, followed by a infield single and then a Pirate error, allowing Megyas to score.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Pirates scored two after a well-placed base hit following a walk and hit batter gave the home team a 4-1 lead.
The Gnats nipped at the Pirates' lead in the top of the sixth when left fielder Ray Hutchens led off the inning with a single, and eventually scored after two errors, a walk and a hit batter to make it 4-2.
The Sand Gnats changed the complexion of the game in the top of the seventh.
Center fielder Jeff Turner started things off with a one-out infield hit where the throw to first pulled the Pirate first baseman off the bag and into the path of the hard-charging Turner.
The two collided, and both spent several minutes on the ground before the game resumed.
A Pirate error, then a Gnat groundout created a two-out with runners on the corners situation. The Pirates intentionally walked Meygas, who had been hitting the ball hard all game, to load the bases.
"Bases loaded, two outs and they intentionally walk the batter to get to the next batter," Johnson said. "(If they do that), what do you do?"
Well when it came to William Garner, the batter after Meygas, you respond with a double over the head of the Pirate left fielder to clear the bases and give the Gnats a 5-4 lead.
The Gnats took advantage of three walks and three Pirate errors to score twice in the eighth.
The Pirates plated one run in the bottom of the eighth, and neither team scored in the ninth to bring in the final tally of 7-5.
Patterson worked all nine innings for the Gnats, giving up 10 hits, striking out six and walking 10.
He also helped his cause by knocking in two runners and scoring one himself. Megyas went two for three, including a double, and scored two runs. Garner's lone hit was the double that knocked in three runs. He also reached base on two walks.
The Sand Gnats have added a 21-and-over team that did not play last week. They are 0-3.
Both teams will be in action at Union Pines High School today.
The 35 team will take on the Carolina Brewers at 4:30 p.m., while the 21 team starts the doubleheader at 1:15 p.m. when it faces the Carolina Kakalacks.
The games are being sponsored by Jim Leach Farm Insurance.
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