WHITE HALL – A great pitching duel between rival schools was spoiled by an erred throw as White Hall defeated Watson Chapel 3-2 Monday on Senior Night.
Watson Chapel (14-3, 8-2 in 5A-South) sophomore Justin Pierce and White Hall (13-3, 7-1) senior Tyler Zuber pitched complete games, but it was an error at third base in the bottom of the third inning that proved to be the deciding factor.
“That killed us,” Chapel head coach Chad Cope said. “But that’s baseball. We haven’t been making those errors this year.”
In the bottom of the third, with Percy Arnold on second, Landon Reed hit a ground ball to Watson Chapel third baseman Trevor Langford. Langford’s throw to first sailed high and out of play, which allowed Arnold to score and for Reed to move to second.
“He chased that ball across the infield and he let it go high. But he’s human. He bounced back though and played a heck of a game the rest of the way.”
After a single by senior Austin Lewis, Zuber hit a sacrifice fly to the outfield to plate Reed. Lewis would later score on a wild pitch and the Bulldogs had a 3-1 lead.
“Fortunately, we made something happen that inning,” White Hall head coach Skip Carr said. “I give credit to their pitcher. He did a great job against us.”
Pierce, a sophomore, allowed three runs on three hits with six strikeouts and no walks. He threw close to 90 pitches.
“My little sophomore threw his butt off,” Cope said. “He really threw well. He competed and he stayed in the zone.”
The win moves White Hall into first place in the conference with a one-game advantage over Chapel.
“There is still a lot of baseball left,” Cope said. “We’ve got some tough games left, but we will just have to dig deep and see.”
Carr echoed Cope’s statement.
“We still have a long ways to go,” Carr said. “These next two weeks are going to make a difference.”
A single by Connor Clemons in the second and an error at short that allowed Kirk Baugh to reach in the sixth were the only other times a Bulldog reached base.
“(Pierce) changed speeds well and he kept the ball down in the zone,” Cope said. “He made them hit the pitches he want.
“He’s only going to get better.”
Carr said his team had no answer for Pierce.
“Their left-handed pitcher was good,” Carr said. “We never could figure him out.
“He didn’t pitch like a sophomore. He threw well and he had confidence out there. He had us off all day.”
Luckily for White Hall, Zuber was able to match Pierce’s performance.
“You know he is going to be a challenge,” Cope said. “He threw well and they made the plays behind him. We had our chances.”
Zuber allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
“It was good for him to get on the mound and throw,” Carr said.
In Zuber’s last outing, he struck out 15 batters and allowed just four hits in a complete-game shutout over Camden Fairview.
Watson Chapel took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, thanks to an RBI infield single by Landen Colson, which scored Dalton Barker from third. Barker had reached on a walk to begin the inning.
Chapel trimmed White Hall’s lead to 3-2 in the top of the fifth when Jacob Owen hit a little dribbler down the third base line. It allowed Jaylen Jackson to score from third.
For Chapel, Colson finished 3 for 4 with a RBI and a double. Josh Dardenne was 1 for 4 and Jackson was 1 for 3 with a run scored.
Barker was 0 for 1 with two walks and a run scored.
Chapel will host Monticello today at 4:30 p.m.
For White Hall, Lewis was 1 for 3 with a run scored. Arnold was 1 for 2 with a run and Zuber was 0 for 2 with an RBI.
White Hall will travel to Hot Springs Lakeside on Thursday.
“They are a very good baseball team,” Carr said. “It’s going to be a big game for us.”