Aycock baseball falls at Kinston
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 21, 2004 8:30 AM
KINSTON -- Kinston looked like a different baseball team on Friday at home against Charles B. Aycock than the one that committed eight errors in a sloppy win over Southern Wayne in its Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener.
The Vikings (2-4, 2-1 ECC 3-A) committed an improved two errors in a 4-3 win over the Golden Falcons, but there was one similarity -- senior right-hander Richard Nobles went the distance and stayed around the strike zone all night.
Aycock (4-1, 2-1) had just two multi-hit innings against the crafty Nobles, who scattered six hits on the game. Viking shortstop Ben Lanier turned in a couple of slick plays and strong throws on balls hit up the middle.
The Falcons' Phillip Cunningham and Nik Pappas hit deep, near-warning-track flyouts in the middle of the game that were each tracked down by Kinston outfielders.
Junior left-hander Adam Williams, making his first ECC start of his career, turned in a solid effort and dueled effectively against Nobles. Williams (1-1) also stayed near the strike zone for most of the game, walking just three and striking out nine with a good mixture of fastball, curve and change-up. Williams struck out the side in the second and had three, multi-strikeout innings.
"He pitched well enough to win. He kept his fastball down low," Aycock coach Charles Davis said. "I'm proud of his effort. He's going to win a lot more ball games than he loses for us if he pitches like that."
Williams' battery-mate, Bennett Jeffreys, had a handful of tough blocks and cut down three Kinston base runners trying to steal.
Williams, who yielded seven hits, ran into major trouble just once in a three-run Kinston third inning.
Lanier started the Vikings' third with a one-out walk, followed by a sharp single to left by Josh Tindal. Nobles then helped his own cause with a single, plating Lanier as Tindal and Nobles moved to third and second, respectively, on an errant throw from right field.
N.C. State signee Reggie Dixon smacked a single up the middle to score both Tindal and Nobles, giving Kinston a 3-2 lead before Williams closed out the inning.
The Vikings tacked on the eventual game-winning run in a peculiar fifth-inning.
It appeared as if Aycock had recorded the second out of the inning when Nobles' was thrown out at first on a grounder to third baseman Jarrod Gouty. After the first base umpire called Nobles out, the home plate umpire overturned the call when he saw Nobles leaning over and gripping his ankles -- saying the batted ball hit Nobles in the batter's box and ruled it foul.
"I've never seen that in 16 years that you make the call on how somebody acts and you admit you don't see it," Davis said.
Nobles stepped back in the box and eventually reached first and advanced to second on an infield throwing error. Nobles never scored in the inning as he was cut down at third on an attempted steal by Jeffreys. But, Dixon, who was intentionally walked after the error, stole second and reached the plate on an RBI, two-out single by Davin Arnold.
Nobles' only two walks came back to haunt him as he issued a first and seventh-inning free pass to Matthew Waddell, who scored all three of Aycock's runs and reached base four-of-four times from his leadoff spot.
Waddell fell behind 0-2 before working Nobles for a walk after a 12-pitch at bat in the top of the first. After stealing second and advancing to third on Phillip Cunningham's single to left -- Waddell plated the game's first run on a fielder's choice groundout by Josh Pate.
Cunningham put the Falcons up 2-0 in the third with a triple over the rightfielder's head, scoring Waddell, who singled to start the inning.
Waddell reached again on a walk in the seventh and eventually came around to score on a throwing error by the second baseman on a fielder's choice, making the score 4-3 with two outs. Nobles eventually overcame Kinston's only two errors in the seventh and pitched out of the inning, striking out the final batter.
Aycock looks to rebound at home on Monday against West Craven.
"I told the guys, 'keep your eye on the ultimate goal of the playoffs, because nobody is going through this conference undefeated this year," Davis said. "I like the make-up of this team, and I think we will bounce back and be ready to play.
C.B. Aycock 101 000 1 -- 3 6 3
Kinston 003 010 x -- 4 7 2
Leading hitters -- C.B. Aycock -- Matthew Waddell 2-2, 3 runs; Phillip Cunningham 2-4, 3B, RBI. Kinston -- Reggie Dixon 2-2, 2 RBI; Davin Arnold 2-3, RBI.
IP H R ER BB SO
Williams (L, 1-1) 6 7 4 3 3 9
Nobles (W) 7 6 3 2 2 4
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