Hough High really earned its spot in the N.C. 4A baseball tournament.
The Huskies beat Mallard Creek 6-2 in the I-Meck title game with a combination of clutch pitching, defense and a four-run fifth inning to break open a close contest. Hough jumped to a 2-0 advantage on J.D. Brock’s solo homer in the first inning and Jeffrey Frey’s run-scoring double in the second. From there, five Huskies pitchers combined for a three-hitter while wriggling free from a couple of bases-loaded jams.
Mallard Creek managed only three hits, but drew seven walks and three errors to put runners in scoring position. Hough, however, defused threats in the fourth and fifth innings by limiting the Mavericks to a single run.
Records: Mallard Creek 12-14; Hough 18-9.
Three who mattered:
J.D. Brock: Hough’s right fielder wasted little time putting the Huskies ahead with a solo shot to right-center to give the home squad a lead they’d never relinquish early. He also pitched an inning of relief.
Wesley Lug: The Huskies’ first baseman struck the decisive blow with a two-run double in the fifth to extend Hough’s advantage to 6-2.
Kevin Coupal: Hough’s fifth and final pitcher of the game closed out by turning over the final five outs, including in the sixth with a pair of runners left on base.
• Hough managed seven hits against Mallard Creek starting pitcher Konni Durschlag, who went the distance.
• Mallard Creek left 11 runners on base, including bases-loaded situations in the fourth and fifth innings.
• The Mavericks cut down a pair of Huskies at the plate to prevent a pair of Hough runs as well as another in a run-down.
What’s next: Hough earns the I-Meck’s automatic bid to the state playoffs.