Prep Baseball Playoffs: East keeps rolling with 8-4 win over North Rowan
If East Davidson continues to swing the bat the way they have in the first two rounds of the 2-A state playoffs, they are going to be hard to eliminate.
Pounding out 14 hits and getting six quality innings out of pitcher Ryan McIntire, the Golden Eagles served up North Rowan a third loss this season in an 8-4 decision Saturday that moves East into Tuesday's third round. A surprise opponent awaits as 7-16 Hunter Huss will visit Thomasville for a 7:30 p.m. showdown.
Nick Williams paced the offensive attack going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs. Nathan Campbell went 2-for-3 with a mammoth home run and three RBIs, while Kelvin Pena had two hits and an RBI.
“We had a swinging bunt I know, but other than that there were not a lot of cheap base hits. The guys really swung it well and hit it hard,” said East head coach Dan Tricarico.
After shutting down a scoring threat in the first by the Cavaliers, East immediately put the bats to work and captured a 2-0 lead.
Pena did what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do, get aboard. He singled to left and swiped second on a steal. Williams followed with a flare to right-center that dropped in, scoring Pena from second. Moving up a base on the throw home, Williams scored on a pair of sacrifice fly balls from Campbell and McIntire.
Runs came in two's again in the fourth as the top of the Eagle order punished the Cavs. Williams drew a one-out walk bringing Campbell back into the box. The senior catcher just missed a home run his first time up, hitting it just a bit too high to travel out of the park. This time he sent a line drive shot that left the yard in a hurry. His missile sailed over the fence in left, doubling the lead to 4-0 for the Eagles.
“I looked stupid on a curveball and swung out of my shoes before that,” said Campbell. “Coach T told me to wait back and see the curveball and the spin. He hung it a little bit and I got a good piece on it and it ended up carrying out.”
The Cavs got a run back in the fourth on a double by Jake Pritchard and Noah Gonzalez sacrifice fly. That hard earned run was canceled out in the bottom half.
Cody Beck led off with a swinging bunt single. Kolton Hawks put down a sacrifice bunt toward first that turned into an infield hit. Reliever Henderson Lentz fielded the ball and made the toss over to the bag. Only nobody was home as first baseman Brandon White was standing right near him. The ball went down the line, giving Beck enough time to reach third. He came in two batters later on Pena's sacrifice fly to right.
Toby Craven extended the lead by one in the fifth scoring on a wild pitch, while East got two more runs in the sixth on a pair of RBI hits from Williams and Campbell.
Tyler Rhodes took over for McIntire in the last inning with an 8-1 advantage to work with. A couple of Eagle errors set up Pritchard for an RBI single. Rhodes struck out Javin Goodine for the second out, but the hard-throwing reliever would not be on the hill for the final one. He issued walks to the next three batters, bringing in two more Cavaliers to make things interesting at 8-4 with the tying run coming to the plate.
Likely to be the starter Tuesday, Williams came in from shortstop to pitch and got the final out on two pitches to end the game.
“The strike zone really shrunk on Tyler and I felt bad for him,” said Tricarico. “We wanted him to get some work in because he has not pitched in so long.”
Through two rounds EDHS has 21 hits and 14 runs scored. Teams want to play their best ball this time of year and it certainly looks as if the Eagles have it all clicking.
“You hope you are,” Tricarico said. “We need to continue to work hard and improve. There are still some little wrinkles here and there that I am not pleased with. The further you go the better the teams are going to be. Hopefully we will be at our best and whatever happens, happens. But we are certainly thrilled to be in the third round.”
Notes: Beck and Craven chipped in with two hits each for the 17-6 Eagles … North Rowan ends the year at 10-14.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.