The Neah-Kah-Nie Pirates took full advantage of a young Gaston baseball team in two games last week, outscoring them 33-12.
The Pirates entered the series with the Pirates with a top 10 ranking in the coaches poll and had high expectations against the 1-11-1 Greyhounds. Game one took place in Rockaway Beach on April 9 amidst the rain and cool ocean breeze off the coastline. It was a close game early on as Gaston scored a run in each of its first three innings and the Pirates scored two in the first on a steal home by Josh Longfellow and a sacrifice fly by Jonathon Lommen.
NKN tacked on another run in the second inning, making it 3-3 after three innings of play. In the fourth, the Pirates blew the game wide open with a seven run explosion on the strength of RBI singles from Longfellow, Josh Elinsky and Keygan Wagner. Junior Eric Lambert also did some damage at the plate with a two RBI double to left field, making the game 10-3.
NKN would tack on three more runs before the game’s end, while playing stout defense to end the game at 13-3 after six innings. Once again it was a team effort on the mound as the Pirates threw Pieper, Lommen and Wagner in the game. Wagner handled a bulk of the pitching with three innings of work, recording two strikeouts and no earned runs.
On April 12, the Pirates traveled to Gaston for a doubleheader that ended up being just a single game due to weather. Lommen led the way for the Pirates on Friday as he tallied four hits and four RBI’s including a singled in the first, singled in the third, singled in the fifth and singled in the seventh en route to a 20-9 victory.
There was plenty of action on the basepaths as NKN collected 19 hits. Gaston led 2-1 after the first two innings before the Pirates poured in seven runs in the third to take the lead for good. With two outs in the inning, Longfellow had a double to left field, followed by a walk by Michael Kelly putting two runners on base. Longfellow scored on a pass ball, Elinksy had a base hit and Kent Pieper drove in Kelly and Elinsky with a base hit. NKN tacked on three more runs in the seven run two-out rally.
Lambert had three hits on the day and an RBI while Eric Loza had three hits of his own with three RBI’s. The Pirates had four pitchers take the mound with Kelly taking home the win on 3.2 innings pitched, four strikeouts and three earned runs.