C.B. Aycock-Wilson Beddingfield
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 18, 2004 2:00 AM
PIKEVILLE -- Survival.
Living on the edge.
Those two words and one phrase aptly describe Charles B. Aycock's nail-biting, 1-0 thriller Friday evening against Wilson Beddingfield. The Golden Falcons' triumphed despite committing two near-crucial errors in two of the final three innings on their home diamond.
Aycock (10-5) seized its fifth consecutive victory -- its longest win streak of the season.
"We like to make things interesting," veteran Golden Falcons coach Charles Davis said.
Trailing 1-0, the Bruins threatened to ruin Adam Williams' shutout bid in the fifth. An infield error, miscommunication on a bunt attempt and Philip Johnson's drag-bunt single put runners on first and third with no outs.
Williams didn't wilt under the pressure. He picked off Johnson at first base and caught the next two batters looking at third strikes to end the inning. Brandon Price, who reached on the error, became the fourth Bruin stranded in scoring position.
Beddingfield tried again in the sixth.
A bloop single to shallow right field, a sacrifice bunt and a walk put runners at first and second with one out. Williams struck out the next batter on three consecutive pitches and then caught David Harrell, one of seven strikeout victims, gazing at an inside fastball on the corner.
Another threat had been thwarted.
"The last three innings we had men on third base and struck out looking several times," said Beddingfield coach Jody O'Neal, whose team struck out 13 times in the seven-inning contest. "Their guy threw the ball well and the guy who came in threw the ball well.
"We just didn't make adjustments at the plate. We have to do something to put the ball in play."
Davis admitted he and Williams made a slight adjustment on the left-hander's delivery after last Friday's outing against North Lenoir. Williams (3-2) began pointing his toe back down instead of extending it out, and was able to get on top with his curveball. He consistently threw the curve for strikes on the outside corner, and then handcuffed the Bruins with his fastball inside.
"He and (catcher) Bennett (Jeffreys) did a good job working together," Davis said.
Williams' pitch count had risen considerably in the latter innings and Davis elected to give Alex Raper some mound time. Raper responded with a three-pitch strikeout against the first batter he faced.
Aycock's defense misplayed a ground ball and a dropped third strike set the stage for another Bruins rally. But Raper stayed in the strike zone and retired the next two batters for his first save of the season.
"Raper was fresh," Davis said. "We knew what type hitters Jody had coming up. With Alex's right-handed curveball, they had seen the left-hander the whole night. I was hoping he was going to be effective.
"It should have been a three-up, three-down inning, but it wasn't. We showed some guts right there at the end and we made the plays where two or three weeks ago we weren't making those plays."
Beddingfield batted 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. The Bruins collected four hits against Williams, who won his second straight start at home.
Johnson (1-5) mixed his change-up with fastballs and threw an equally-effective game for the Bruins. The senior right-hander yielded a fourth-inning hit to Josh Pate, but was victimized by an error and wild pitch. Those two miscues led to the Golden Falcons' lone run, which was scored by courtesy runner Chris Davis.
The one-hit output was a season-low for Aycock.
"They had a lot more opportunities to score than we did," Davis said. "Maybe that's a good sign because two or three weeks ago, those type ball games we were losing.
"We went through that four-game slide and lost some tough games in the seventh inning."
The Golden Falcons entertain Greene Central at 7 p.m. Wednesday. They hit the road Friday for a Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference game at county rival Southern Wayne.
Beddingfield 000 000 0 -- 0 4 2
C.B. Aycock 000 100 x -- 1 1 2
Leading hitters -- Beddingfield -- Chris Jones 1-4; Matt Whitehead 1-4; Tyler Goff 1-2; Philip Johnson 1-3. C.B. Aycock -- Josh Pate 1-1.
DP -- none. LOB -- Beddingfield 9, C.B. Aycock 3. SH -- Oxendine. SB -- Price 2, B. Johnson.
IP H R ER BB SO
P. Johnson (L, 1-5) 6 4 1 0 0 8
C.B. Aycock (10-5)
Williams (W, 3-2) 6 4 0 0 1 10
Raper (S, 1) 1 0 0 0 0 3
WP -- Williams, Raper, P. Johnson 2. HBP -- Price (by Williams), Goff (by Williams), Pate (by P. Johnson), Pappas (by P. Johnson). PB -- Jeffreys.
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