The Havelock baseball team needed something to break out of its slump. That thing proved to be patience.
Ram batters walked four times before Austin Coley delivered a big hit in a six-run fourth inning, as Havelock defeated White Oak 10-4 Tuesday at Havelock High.
“We’ve got a couple of hitters who are overly aggressive,” Havelock coach Charlie Smith said. “We went three batters and they threw only two strikes, so we were trying to take pitches a little bit, get a good count and put the pressure back on them. That was big.”
The Rams, losers of seven of their last eight games, trailed 4-1 in the second inning, thanks in part to two errors and an RBI double from White Oak’s Tyler Jobe.
Coley prevented another run when he threw a strike to catcher Chris Toler, who tagged out White Oak’s Troy Jurney at the plate, ending the inning.
That set the stage for a Havelock comeback. The Rams got two runs in the bottom of the second, with Coley getting a single and scoring on an error, and Pharoh Cooper delivering another run on an infield hit.
Still down 4-3 in the fourth with two outs, Cooper, Will Blythe, Aron Rossi and Josh Little had consecutive walks, producing the tying run. Cameron Carpenter then reached on an error, producing the go-ahead run.
Coley then smacked a two-run double to left-center, and two more runners crossed the plate when the Vikings couldn’t field a ball off the bat of Justice Provencher. Just like that, the Rams scored six runs on just one hit.
“Austin Coley’s coming around,” Smith said. “He struggled the first third of the season, but he looks real comfortable at the plate right now.”
Havelock also settled down defensively. Cooper made a running catch of a fly ball to center and then threw to a stretching Ryan Lewis to double up a White Oak runner at second base. The Rams didn’t make an error after the third inning.
Meanwhile, Little relieved starting pitcher Rossi in the third, giving up just one infield hit in five innings and striking out five to get the victory.
“When Josh Little comes in, his ball just sinks hard at the plate,” Smith said. “Those guys just top it out there for those easy ground balls. Sometimes, they end up in no man’s land, but Josh has been pitching real well.”
Coley led Havelock at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Cooper was also 2-for-3 with an RBI and two steals. Blythe was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, while Rossi had an RBI double in three trips to the plate, and Carpenter was 1-for-3. Lewis and Toler each supplied a sacrifice bunt.
With the victory, the Rams improve to 8-11 overall and 3-6 in the Coastal 3A Conference with an eye on one of five league playoff spots.
“There’s still a lot of baseball left and we’re still in it,” Smith said. “We have to finish as high as we can finish and hopefully get these guys in the playoffs and have a good playoff run.
“But, we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got to beat the people we’ve already beaten and try to find a way to beat those guys we didn’t beat the first time around. And, it’s good to have four out of the last six at home, too.”
The Rams are next scheduled to play at Washington Friday before hosting South Central on Tuesday.