04/07/04 — Baseabll -- Princeton knocks off Eagles

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Baseabll -- Princeton knocks off Eagles

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on April 7, 2004 2:03 PM

If the first half of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference season is any indication, the teams that grab one of the three playoff berths will have to win their fair share of close games.

League-leading Princeton has proven it has that ability as the Bulldogs came away with another nail-biter in a 4-3 win at rival Rosewood on Tuesday evening.

Princeton (10-2, 5-1 Carolina) was out-hit by the Eagles 8-6, but used a three-run first inning and solid fundamental defense behind starter Dustin Myers in the win.

"The little things are big. If you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves," Princeton coach Bruce Proctor said.

Myers tossed five shutout innings, pitching out of several tough jams on his way to his third win in four decisions. The Eagles (5-5, 3-3 Carolina) had their chances, leaving nine total runners stranded and five in scoring position.

After yielding three runs in the first, Rosewood starter Micheal Render settled into the pitching duel with Myers through the rest of the game. The senior left-hander mixed his pitches well and finished with nine strikeouts, scattering three hits in innings two through six.

Princeton stranded seven runners on the game against Render.

"He (Render) did a great job. He pitched well enough to win today," Rosewood coach Scott Adams said.

Taylor Carr put the Eagles on the board with a line-drive, solo home run over the left-field fence to start the sixth, pulling Rosewood to within two at 3-1.

Princeton struck for a crucial insurance run in the top of the seventh when Myers helped his cause with a single to left against a drawn-in infield, scoring Bren Hall, who started the seventh with a walk.

Trailing 4-1, Rosewood's Matt Craft opened the seventh with a walk off of Myers, causing Proctor to call on left-hander Colin Parker to close the game. Parker started the save attempt shakily, walking Dustin Overman, who finished with two hits, then both Craft and Overman moved to second and third with a double steal.

Craft scored on a wild pitch, while Overman came around to score on an RBI single by Josh Allen -- making the score 4-3 with no outs and the tying run on first.

Parker then settled in and got Rosewood's four, five and six hitters out consecutively to tally the save.

"We just weren't mentally focused coming into today's game. You can't leave all those runners on base," Adams said. "We played from behind the whole game."

Princeton's three-run first was aided by two infield errors and a wild pitch by Rosewood, leading to one unearned run. Parker and Brooks Moore added key singles during the rally before Render struck out two to close the first.

The early to middle innings saw the Bulldogs execute near flawlessly in the field.

Princeton turned a 1-6-3 double play in the second, while catcher Daniel Gerrell cut down a runner trying to steal third in the fourth and one attempting to swipe second in the fifth.

"They made the routine plays and we didn't in the first inning," Adams said. "If we come out mentally focused and make the routine plays, we can be right in the thick of things."

After spring break, the Eagles return to action on April 22 on the road at Farmville Central. Princeton takes on non-conference opponent Cardinal Gibbons at home today before hosting the Deacon Jones Invitational Tournament, beginning April 14.

Princeton 300 000 1 -- 4 6 1

Rosewood 000 001 2 -- 3 8 3

Leading hitters -- Princeton -- Dustin Myers 2-3, RBI, run; Zach Harmon 1-2, 2B. Rosewood -- Taylor Carr 2-4, HR, RBI; Josh Allen 1-3, RBI; Dustin Overman 2-2, run.



Dustin Myers (W, 3-1) 6 7 2 2 3 5

Colin Parker (S) 1 1 1 1 1 1


Micheal Render (L, 3-3) 7 6 4 3 4 9

WP -- Render (2), Myers. PB -- Bunn, Gerrell. HBP -- Jo. Allen, Hill (by Myers).