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Crotts, Carroll tame Bulldogs

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Neither team had a baserunner after the third inning as Carroll County edged Tazewell 1-0.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE -- When two power pitchers are in the zone, as were Tazewell’s Zak Wasilewski and Carroll County’s Adam Crotts, it almost always comes down to the little things. The little things beat Tazewell on Friday. Carroll County used an error, a passed ball and a Dillon Bryant single to edge the Bulldogs 1-0 in a masterfully-pitched Southwest District duel at Bill Worrell Field. If anything was going to get done, it needed to happen early as both Crotts and Wasilewski became more dominant as the afternoon quickly wore on. No batter for either team reached base after the third inning, with Wasilewski retiring the final 12 Cavaliers he faced. Crotts finished up by sitting down 14 Bulldogs in a row. “Most lefthanders do get stronger as the innings go on,” Tazewell coach Lou Peery said. “If you can’t get them in the first couple of innings, you’re wasting your time. But both pitchers did an excellent job. Any time it’s 1-0, an hour-and-a-half ballgame, you’ve got to say something positive about both teams.” The Cavaliers’ one chance to score on Wasilewski came in the bottom of the second when Jordan Hawks tapped weakly back to the mound. Wasilewski’s fastball can reach the upper 80s on the radar gun, but his soft toss to first was in the dirt and skittered past Bulldog first baseman Ryan Hankins for an error. A fastball nipped off the mitt of catcher Mike Wood, allowing pinch runner Morgan Edwards to advance to second, where he scored on a line drive single to center by Bryant. Carroll County (7-4 overall, 3-2 district) wouldn’t sniff another scoring opportunity. Craig Rosen led off the third with a single, but he would be the last Cavalier to reach base. “You’ve got to give both pitchers credit,” said Carroll County coach Joe Tompkins. “You can’t find a better high school ballgame than it was today. We had some luck and scored a run, and it held up.” Crotts found himself in a pickle early on but emerged unscathed as Tazewell came up empty despite collecting three hits and a walk in the top of the first. Josh Mitchem led off the game with a single and took second on a wild pitch, but Wasilewski’s rocket to the left side was flagged down by Cavalier shortstop Jared Cox, who stepped on second to double off Mitchem. Hankins promptly doubled to right, Taylor Herald singled and Wood walked to load the bases but Jordan Jones lined out to second to end the inning. “That’s the breaks of the game,” Peery said. “They always say baseball is a game of inches and we didn’t get a half-inch today. They made great defensive plays when they had to.” Tazewell (4-7, 3-2) had a runner on second with less than two outs in each of the next two innings, but again came away with nothing. Blake Hash was on second via an error but got doubled off on a liner to third baseman Zack Edwards. Wasilewski doubled with one out in the third, but was stranded as Crotts began his string of 14 straight outs. “We were going to let Adam go as far as he could,” said Tompkins. “He pitched a heck of a ballgame. Zak pitched a heck of a ballgame for them. Both of them pitched well enough to win. You can’t ask for more.” Crotts threw in the neighborhood of 85 pitches in the complete game win, giving up four hits, striking out eight and walking one as Carroll County won its fifth straight. A sophomore lefthander, Wasilewski allowed just a pair of singles, fanned a dozen and walked one. “Their pitcher threw a heck of a ballgame and ours was throwing pretty good, so it’s a matter of who gets a break or who gets a bloop hit or whatever,” Peery said.   Tazewell..............000  000  0––0  4  2 Carroll County......010  000  x––1  2  1

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Wasilewski and M.Wood. Crotts and Snow, A.Wood (5). WP – Crotts. LP – Wasilewski. 2B – Hankins, Wasilewski.