Scotland Thumps Union Pines on Diamond
Lack of offensive production and defensive struggles plagued homestanding Union Pines Thursday evening in Cameron at Vikings Field as Scotland High pasted the home team 18-0 in Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League baseball.
The visiting Scots barged out of the gates to start the top-half of the first. Third baseman Nolan Pierce began the game with a double to straightaway center field. With two outs, shortstop Hayden Buffkin reached on a throwing error from Viking third baseman Tyler Barber, advancing Buffkin to second and scoring the game’s first run.
Buffkin proceeded to reach third base and home on a pair of wild pitches by Union Pines starting pitcher Jeffrey Thompson to give the Scots an early 2-0 edge.
Thompson’s early struggles continued as he hit first baseman Cody Freeman, who also advanced a base on another passed ball. Second baseman Cross Holfert doubled to right field to score thethird run of the inning.
Barber made an effort to redeem his error earlier in the inning by gunning down Holfert at home plate to end the inning for the Scots, following a single into left field by pitcher DylanWard.
“Eleven pitches and we should’ve been out of it,” Union Pines head coach Chad Hill said. “We had an E-5 that should have made it 0-0. We didn’t make the play, and when you give a good team extra outs like we did today, anytime you give those guys extra outs, they’re going to take advantage of it. And that’s exactly what they did today.”
Thompson attempted to start a rally of his own for the Vikings in the bottom half of the inning by sending a line drive to right field for a two-out single. However, Thompson was picked off at first base by Ward to end the inning.
The Scots returned to the batter’s box in full force in the second inning, scoring an additional five runs on just two hits and a pair of errors as the Vikings continued to struggle in the field.
Thompson’s day on the mound ended after just two innings of work. On the night the rising senior allowed eight runs, all of which were unearned.
Barber started things off in the bottom of the second with a bloop single to right field. J.W. Dick then took a free bag after a hit by pitch, advancing Barber into scoring position with no outs.
Ward proceeded to send the next three batters back to the dugout, striking out two along the way.
Dick took the pitcher’s mound in the third inning for Union Pines. After striking out the first batter he faced, his next pitch went straight into the lower back of catcher Sam Gray, who then stole second base.
Following a pair of walks to load the bases, Buffkin doubled to the left-center field wall to score the first pair of earned runs for the Scots in the tilt, who took a commanding 10-0 advantage in the process.
With two outs in the bottom half of the inning, Ward hit Mason Collins to put a runner on for center fielder Dalton Garner. Garner hit a ground rule double over the left center field wall to put two runners in scoring position. Ward hunkered down again, however, sitting the next batter down on strikes to end the threat.
Scotland continued to pour on the onslaught into the fourth. Eight more runs were scored on two more Viking errors and four base hits, including a grand slam from center fielder Blake Bennett and a home run from Freeman.
“Offensively, we just had quality approaches at the plate,” Scotland head coach Jamie Coleman said. “We stayed within ourselves and were getting on top of the baseball and focusing on hitting line drives.”
Scot pitcher Dakota Graves entered the game in relief of Ward, striking out the side. With the sun setting low in the summer sky and the outcome surely decided, the game was ultimately called due to darkness .
Of Scotland’s 18 runs in the contest, 10 were unearned due to five Viking errors and a combined five passed ball/wild pitch count.
“We didn’t throw strikes, and then when we did throw strikes, our defense was back on their heels,”Hill said “and we didn’t make the plays. We swung the bat well, but it’s tough to hit an 18-run homer.”
The opponents will meet again for a Monday afternoon rematch at Scotland in Laurinburg.
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