#039;Dogs lose at home

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2003

The Pike County baseball team hit five extra base hits Wednesday but still lost its first round playoff game to Northside.

The Bulldogs hit two home runs, two doubles and a triple, but the hits were not enough as Northside held on for a 5-4 win.

Craig Honeycutt picked up the win for Northside, pitching six-and-two-thirds innings, surrendering four earned runs on seven hits and one walk. He also struck out 10 Bulldog batters. Brandon Ligons pitched the final third inning for the save.

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D.J. Cannon took the tough loss. He surrendered only four earned runs, but walked eight batters and struck out five.

"They're a really good ball team," Northside head coach Larry Mims said. "I'd hate to have to face 24 (Chris Nickson) too many times. He's an amazing athlete."

Nickson had a decent day, hitting two-for-four with a triple and an RBI, but the Chris who performed best at the plate was Chris Bell. He drove in three runs on two hits and scored two as he hit two home runs. His second homer came in the bottom of the seventh inning and was an inside-the-park homer to center field. It cut the Northside lead to 5-4.

"I was just trying to make something happen," Bell said. "When I saw he dropped it, I thought I could get home. I wanted to make something happen to make up for my error. It may have cost us the game."

Bell's error came with two outs in the second inning. He dropped a fly ball by Northside's Douglas Frazier, and C.J. Dearman scored on the play.

The costlier error, though, may not have been committed by a player.

With the score tied at 3 in the top of the sixth, Cannon threw a two-strike, two-out pitch to Northside's Cody Blanchard that appeared to the Pike County followers to cross the plate. The umpire did not see it that way, and Blanchard hit an RBI double on the next pitch. He came around to score on Honeycutt's hit, and his run proved to be the game winner.

Pike County fell behind early in the game as Northside scored a run in each of the first two innings.

The Bulldogs tied the game in the third on back-to-back hits by Anthony Kilpatrick and Bell. Kilpatrick hit a double to right field and Bell followed with a home run over the right field wall.

"Coach told us to go opposite field if they pitched us outside," Bell said.

Northside retook the lead in the top of the fourth. Blanchard drove in the go-ahead run by drawing a bases-loaded walk to score Josh Hood.

Pike County tied the game again in the fifth. Kilpatrick led off the inning with a double and scored on Nickson's RBI single.

Northside took the lead in the top of the sixth and saw the lead cut in half in the bottom of the inning on Bell's second home run. It came with two outs.

After Bell's homer, Ligons got Nickson to fly out to center to end the game and earn the save.

The Bulldogs got seven hits from their first four batters, but none from the rest of the lineup. Hitters six through nine all went zero-for-three and failed to reach base. The quartet struck out eight times.

Northside will play Saturday in the second round of the playoffs against an opponent yet to be determined.