Season ends for Bronco Stars

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 20, 2007

NORFOLK—The Southampton-Sussex Bronco All-Stars saw their season end Sunday with a loss to Western Branch Gold in the Sectional Championship.

The team finished with an overall record of 12-3.

In the first game of the sectional tourney, S&S faced host Little Creek National and won 9-4. Josh Riddick pitched six innings, striking out nine batters and surrendering just three hits. Tyler Amorese went 3-for-4 at the plate and had two RBIs. Lewis Mayes, Zachary Vann and Dillon Hasty each collected two hits and scored two runs.

Western Branch Blue was the Game 2 opponent. Blue jumped out to 2-0 lead in the first, but S&S answered in the bottom of the second with four runs to take the lead.

Josh Riddick started the rally when he got on by error as the centerfielder misplayed a deep fly ball. Mason Wright followed with a triple to the left-center gap to score Riddick. Wright stole second and third before Jack Bunn hit an RBI single to left. Hayden Spalding kept the hits going as he singled again to left, followed by Caleb Atkins’ RBI hit to right field. He advanced to second on the throw to home and moved to third on a wild pitch. Vann’s fielder’s choice to shortstop would then score Atkins for a 4-2 lead.

S&S picked up one more run in the third as Tyler Amorese scored on Mason Wright’s single up the middle.

In the fifth, Billy Britton led off with a double down the left-field line. Amorese singled to score Britton, and Riddick later collected the final RBI of the game when he singled to left-center.

Tanner Winters was the winning pitcher, tossing the final four innings of the game.

He struck out five batters and gave up two earned runs on three hits.

Game 3 saw Great Neck of Virginia Beach and S&S battle in a nearly perfect defensive game by both teams. S&S committed no errors and employed “small ball” to ignite an offensive rally in the fourth inning.

With the game tied at 2-2, Vann got on with one out. He then stole second base, and

Britton perfectly executed a bunt for an infield hit that put runners on the corners. Amorese drove them both in with a sharp-hit ball by third base. Riddick continued with a bunt of his own. Wright knocked in Amorese and Riddick with a triple to the right-center gap to put S&S up 6-2.

That would be enough as Great Neck would only score once more in the fifth inning to make the final score 6-3.

Riddick, Vann and Wright combined to hold Great Neck to five hits. But it was the solid defense of the entire team that was the key to the victory. Several plays were made on balls that likely could have gone for hits.

The championship round saw Western Branch Gold come out of the losers’ bracket in the double-elimination

tourney to face S&S. In need of only one win and two chances to pick it up, S&S was denied the opportunity to continue its season.

In the first game, S&S appeared to be heading to victory with a 6-0 lead going into the sixth inning. Riddick had pitched a gem of a game, giving up just one hit and striking out five. The defense continued to play solidly, but the Western Branch bats came to life and scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to go ahead 7-6. S&S was unable to score in the seventh, forcing a deciding game Sunday.

Determined to rebound from the heartbreaking loss the day before, S&S’ defense was solid again, but its bats went quiet as the team only scored one run in the final game. Spalding was 3-for-3 in the game and had an RBI. Western Branch Gold won 5-1.