It took nearly three-and-a-half hours on a very cold night, but in the end, at least for Davie County, it was well worth the wait. The War Eagles (5-0) rallied from a 6-0 deficit and defeated the Watauga
High baseball team 7-6 in 10 innings in a non-conference game at Rich Park in Mocksville, N.C.
Charlie Muchkot drove in the game-winning run with a line drive double that skipped off the glove of left fielder Mason Illich, who tried to make a diving catch on the play. The ball got by Illich and rolled to the wall allowing Luke Martin, who walked with two outs, to score the winning run all the way from first base.
Utah Jones (0-1), the fifth pitcher utilized by WHS coach Pete Hardee, suffered the loss.
The sophomore went 2.2 innings, he gave up a run on two hits with two strikeouts with a pair of walks.
"We're hoping that Utah will be our ace next season," said Hardee said. "He's had some experience on the mound, and he's a baseball guy. You can tell he knows the game real well. A lot of times in the dugout, he's saying something about a certain situation concerning the game that I'm thinking about at the same time."
The Pioneers (1-4), however, were their own worst enemy. WHS made six errors (all of them from the second base position) and they walked ten men. The War Eagles, thanks to two errors and four walks, one intentional, scored three times in the seventh inning to tie the game.
A throwing error by Jesse Illich, who replaced Utah Jones at second base in the seventh, allowed two runs to score on what would have been the final out of the game. That made it 6-5. Ryder Jones, the third pitcher used by the Pioneers in the frame, walked Jeremy Walker to force in the game-tying run.
"We just gave the game away," Hardee said. "We found a way to lose the game."
That meltdown also spoiled a decent outing by Chance Richards, who despite some shakey moments, carried WHS into the fifth inning and left with a 6-2 lead.
"We play teams like Davie County because they have such a strong program," Hardee said. "It's a good measuring stick for our team. And it prepares us for our (Northwestern) conference season."
Tyler Jones paced WHS by going 3-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored; Mason Illich was 3-6 and drove in a run; Ryder Jones had a double and two RBI; Tyler Sturgill had two hits and drove in a run. The Pioneers made a season-high 12 hits.
The War Eagles, who had scored 45 runs in their first four games, left 18 men on base, 13 in scoring position. They left the bases loaded four times. In turn, the Pioneers left 12 men on base, they also lost three base runners and hit into four double plays.
The Pioneers hope to bounce back Friday night as they travel to Alexander Central. The Cougars (6-0) play Davie County tonight in Taylorsville. Ryder Jones is the scheduled starter. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Classic Hits 100.7 FM.
NOTES: The last time WHS blew a 6-0 lead was in 2002 against Freedom on the road. And like Wednesday night, it was a frigid Friday afternoon in Morganton, N.C. The Patriots rallied for eight runs in the fifth inning against losing pitcher Nat Holmes in that game.....Saturday's scheduled game between the Pioneers and Mount Tabor has been moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., due to poor field conditions at Pioneers Field.....WHS is 0-2 in extra inning games this season.