Hickory holds off Watauga, 5-3

Hickory holds off Watauga, 5-3
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The throw was high, but Hickory first baseman Brody Scarborough was able to come down with it just in time to catch Watauga speedster, Anderson Castle (7).

By David Rogers. April 30, 2019. BOONE, NC — A leadoff single and a steal of third base by shortstop Tanner Craft helped Watauga jump out to a first inning lead, but the baseball Pioneers could not overcome a slew of fielding miscues in falling 5-3 to Hickory in Round 1 of the Northwestern Conference tournament, Tuesday night at Pioneer Field.

COVER IMAGE: Watauga pitcher Andrew Dye, who last week signed a scholarship offer to play college baseball at Lenoir-Rhyne University next year, pitched five and two-thirds innings in Tuesday’s loss to Hickory. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

Hickory senior pitcher William Stewart helped his cause in the sixth inning with a 2-run blast over the left center field fence to lead the Red Tornadoes’ 3-run rally that put the visitors ahead to stay.

Hickory’s win featured strong fielding performances, including this early inning play by sophomore third baseman Davis Hall on a sharp infield grounder.

By virtue of its second-place finish behind 3A rival Alexander Central in 3A/4A Northwestern Conference regular season play, Watauga is likely to receive a bid in the 3A-level of the North Carolina state tournament scheduled to begin next week. North Carolina High School Athletic Association will oversee the tournament seeding on May 6th and Round 1 will be at the higher seeds’ home fields beginning on May 7th.

South Caldwell is the lone 4A school in the Northwestern Conference. The Spartans finished first during the league’s regular season and is expected to receive a high seed in the 4A West bracket of the state tourney with an 18-4 overall regular season record (10-2 in conference).

Heading into the state tournament, Watauga is 10-14 overall and finishes 9-5 in Northwestern Conference play, including Tuesday’s loss to Hickory in Round 1 of the conference tournament.

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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