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Price pitches Chiefs to district win

By By Matthew Nascone
Confusion and frustration were two things the South Walton High School Seahawks were feeling when they left Bratt, Fla. after a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Northview High School Chiefs Feb. 29.
NHS junior pitcher Jeff Price (2-1) threw a one-hit shutout Friday night and struck out eight batters, while walking only one for his second win of the season.
"What makes Jeff so good is that he is so consistent on the mound," NHS head coach Sid Wheatley said. "He mixed up his pitches real well against South Walton and it makes it tough on a team when a pitcher is getting everything he throws across the plate."
Wheatley said the Chiefs (3-4, 1-0 Class 3A, District 1) also got timely hitting, with all six runs of the game crossing the plate in the third inning.
"We would love to spread our production out through the game, but I am never going to complain about scoring six runs in one inning," Wheatley said.
Sophomore Brad Lowery led the inning off with a walk. Price followed with a single and senior T.J. Hadley laced a double to score Lowery and Price. Senior Jacob Farish was hit by a pitch, junior Brett Hanks followed with a two-RBI single, scoring Hadley and Farish. Hanks and sophomore Dakota Stuckey both scored on a single by Lowery.
Lowery was 1-for-2 in the game with one walk and one run scored. Hadley went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and one run scored.
Hanks was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and Price went 2-for-4 at the plate with one run scored.
Chiefs 5 Marengo 4
The Chiefs took down Marengo Academy 5-4 Saturday to place third in the Satchel Paige Invitational.
Senior Matt Walker picked up the win on the mound. After catching 10 innings throughout the day, he pitched the final two innings for the win. Walker (1-0) allowed no runs on two hits and struck out one batter.
"Matt Walker had a great day for us out there," Wheatley said.
Walker was also 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBIs. The Chiefs came from behind to score three runs in the seventh inning. Walker knocked in the tying run with a two-RBI single after junior Patrick McPherson put down a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third.
Lowery followed with what ended up being the game-winning single.
Marengo scored three runs in the second inning. NHS fired back with two in the third. Marengo took a 4-2 lead with one in the bottom of the inning, but NHS stormed back with three in the seventh inning for the win.
Price went 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI. McPherson was 1-for-2 with one double and one run scored. Hanks also scored a run and Jacob Farish got one hit.
Lowery started the game and went five innings. He allowed four runs, one earned, on four hits, struck out five and walked four.
Cottage Hill 6 Chiefs 2
In the opening game of the tournament, NHS lost 6-2 to Cottage Hill Christian Academy. Hanks (0-1) was saddled with the loss, going three innings and allowing five runs on four hits and walking four batters.
The key to the game was the Chiefs' inability to push runs across the board.
"We loaded the bases three different innings and produced only one run," Wheatley said. "This was a big difference in the game."
Farish was 3-for-4, Lowery was 1-for-4 and senior Trent Freeman was 1-for-4 with one run scored. Stuckey scored one run and had two walks. Junior Alex Abbott and McPherson each went 1-for-2. Abbott had one double and McPherson had one RBI.
Heath Burkett threw the final four innings on the mound and allowed one unearned run on two hits. He struck out one and walked one.
Cottage Hill scored two runs in the first inning and two in the second inning. NHS scored one in the second to cut the lead to 4-1, but Cottage Hill added one in the third and one in the sixth to Northview's one in the fourth for the 6-2 win.
Chiefs 5 Pensacola 2
The Chiefs' only other win of the season came Feb. 19 against the Pensacola High School Tigers. NHS won 5-2 behind another strong performance from Price.
Price threw a complete game and allowed two runs, one earned on six hits. He struck out eight and walked none.
He also went 1-for-3 at the plate. Walker was 1-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and one stolen base. Freeman went 3-for-3 with one double and one run scored. Stuckey, McPherson and Lowery each went 1-for-3. Lowery had one double and one run scored.
Up next for the team is a home game against district rival Walton March 7. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.