LAURINBURG — The Scotland baseball team saw its three-game win streak to open the season come to an end Wednesday night, as visiting Harnett Central outlasted the Scots for a 6-5 victory.
In the process, the Trojans snapped a three-game losing steak and picked up their first win of the year. Harnett Central scored the first three runs of the game, then after Scotland knotted the contested at 3-all in the bottom of the third, the Trojans tallied a trio of runs in the top of the fifth.
The Scots were able to cut into the deficit with runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, but Chad Hill’s squad stranded a runner on second base in the final frame as Scotland fell short in its comeback bid.
Hill said after the defeat that untimely fielding errors and miscues on the mound resulted in Scotland’s first loss of the year.
“It was one of those nights where we were a step slow on everything and we were a play behind everything,” he said.
Harnett Central (1-3) opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first as a wild pitch from Scotland’s Cross Holfert allowed a runner to reach home. The Trojans then added a pair of runs in the top of the third when an error at third base opened the door for another Trojan to cross home plate, followed by an RBI single.
“We kind of did the opposite of what we did last week, you know, and that is going to happen in baseball. You can’t play perfect all the time,” Hill said. “Pitchers got behind a little bit, they had to throw it down the middle a little bit and they capitalized.”
However, Scotland (3-1) responded to score three runs in the bottom of the third to get back in it. Donta Green cracked a double to plate Holfert, then Justin Bowers hit a sacrifice fly to bring Daly Marcano home. A Harnett Central wild pitch then brought Green home.
After pitching three solid innings, Nicholas Charleson was roughed up by the Trojan batters in the top of the fifth inning. Harnett Central notched a single, double and an RBI single in consecutive at-bats to take a 4-3 lead.
Austin Norton replaced Charleson on the mound but he gave up another RBI single, then a passed ball set up the Trojans’ third score of the inning.
But just as they did earlier in the game, the Scots fought their way back into contention. Bowers opened the bottom of the fifth with a single, and he eventually reached home after a Harnett Central error gave him the opportunity to round the bases and cross the plate.
“I felt like we competed tonight all the way to the last pitch and I told the guys I’m proud of that,” Hill said. “I hate the way the score ended up, but at least they competed for us.”
Scotland added another score in the bottom of the sixth inning when Holfert powered an RBI single to center, but the Scots missed on opportunities to possibly tie the game or take the lead heading into the final inning.
Marcano hit a single to put runners on first and second with one out, but Scotland stranded both players on base as Green and Bowers followed with a fly out and ground out respectively.
After holding Harnett Central scoreless in the top of the seventh, Scotland racked up two outs before Zac Phillips got on base with a double. A ground out during the Scots’ next plate appearance, however, sealed their defeat.
“We’re going to learn from this loss, we’re going to take some positive things from it,” Hill said. “We’re going to get back tomorrow and get after it here at McCoy (Field).”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.