Sixth-inning rally lifts Vikings over Eagles

Mar. 11, 2014 @ 10:19 PM

This one didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first two, but Northern Vance pitcher Nate Arrington improved to 3-0 on Tuesday as the Vikings (3-0) rallied for a 3-2 win at home over Warren County.

Arrington tied the score at the plate in the fifth inning on a groundout before Kevonte Hanks knocked in the go-ahead run in the sixth. Hanks (2-for-3) scored Kyland Bullock from second base before Northern head coach Benji Nelson subbed in a pinch runner for Hanks.

“Hoping we could get a hit and another insurance run, but it was enough,” said Nelson.

Arrington retired 11 consecutive batters to close the game. The senior right-hander allowed four hits and struck out nine in his third complete-game effort of the season in as many outings. Arrington’s strikeout tally is now 37.

“Can’t say enough about the kid,” said Nelson. “When he’s on the mound, he’s going to throw strikes.”

Both of the runs scored on Arrington were earned. In the previous meeting at Warren County, he fanned 13 in a 6-1 decision.

The Eagles (1-3) have welcomed a couple of basketball players to the team since then and seem to be finding their groove.

“We hit the ball better today than we did last time,” said Warren County head coach Randy Martin.

Darian Sellers, Hayden Sullivan, Tyler Thompson, and Blake Tharrington each had hits for the Eagles, who opened the scoring in the first inning and regained the lead in the third on an RBI-single to right field from Thompson.

Sullivan got the start for Warren County and went the distance.

“He’s coming along good,” Martin said of Sullivan. “He hits the ball good too. For some reason, he said he didn’t feel like he was throwing it hard today.”

Hanks also accounted for Northern’s first run, knocking in Bullock in the bottom half of the first.

The Vikings evened the score in the fifth when Arrington scored Trakey Evans, who led off with a double before being moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt from Jared Bennett.

“We finally manufactured a run with an out,” said Nelson. “That’s something we’ve been struggling with. If we’re going to make an out, let’s at least manufacture a run.”

Warren County returns to the field on Tuesday against Roanoke Rapids.

Chris Paulson and Eric Lemmond also added hits for Northern, which opens 3-A Big Eight Conference play Tuesday at home against Orange, one of the favorites to win the league along with Cardinal Gibbons.

“We have to be hitting on all cylinders,” said Nelson. “We have a really tough challenge on our hands Tuesday.”

Eagles down DSA 11-4

Warren County (1-3, 1-1) picked up its first 2-A Northern Carolina Conference win on Monday at Durham School of the Arts.

The Eagles scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to clinch an 11-4 victory.

Antonio Thompson and Trey Martin each led Warren County with two hits and Thompson, Tharrington, Sullivan, Josh Moss, and Brandon Pulley each had hits.

Sellers went three innings on the mound before Tharrington closed out the game.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.