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Lions shut out Park View to claim tournament win

It was payback time for the Halifax County Middle School baseball team Thursday with a 9-0 win over Park View in the Southside Middle School Conference Tournament championship game.

Park View, the defending tournament champion, defeated Halifax County 9-2 last year in the championship game, and this time the Lions got a little bit of payback against the Cougars, scoring four runs in the first inning, four in the fifth and one run in the sixth inning.

Tyler Duffer smacked a home run, and Kelonte Gutrich belted a two-run double and RBI triple for Halifax County, while Evan Irby hit an RBI triple and Joey Davis an RBI single.

Jacob McKinney added an RBI sacrifice fly, and Jake Hughes and Tylik Powell added base hits for the Lions, while pitchers Andrew Abbott and Hughes hurled a combined five-hitter.

Halifax County (14-2) played a solid, all-around game to win the championship, according to Head Coach Jody Nelson.

“We pitched great, played solid “D” and got timely hits when we needed them,” Nelson said.

“The boys have come a long way since February.  They put in the time and work to make this season as successful as it was.

“I hope the eighth-graders can build on such a productive season and the seventh and sixth graders have whetted their appetites to repeat next year.”

The Lions escaped a two-out, bases-loaded situation in the top of the first inning before scoring four runs themselves.

Hughes hit a leadoff single, Arthur Watts drew a walk and Gutrich smacked a two-run triple before scoring himself on a wild pitch.

Abbott drew a walk and Davis hit an RBI single to make it 4-0.

Park View hit three singles in the fifth inning but could not plate any runs, and Halifax County added four more runs in its half of the inning, beginning with walks to Arthur Watts and Gutrich.

McKinney hit a sacrifice fly, Irby an RBI triple and Duffer a home run to cap the rally that made it 8-0.

Halifax capped the scoring with a run in the sixth inning beginning with a single by Powell.  Hughes reached base on an error and scored on Gutrich’s RBI triple.

Abbott and Hughes, both of whom pitched for the Lions in their tournament semifinal win over Powhatan on Monday, again shared time on the mound against Park View.

Abbott allowed no runs on four hits in four and two-thirds innings with two strikeouts and four walks, while Hughes allowed no runs on one hit in two and one-third innings, with four strikeouts and two walks.