Baseball playoffs -- Gators smack third-ranked Wallace-RH
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 21, 2004 1:57 PM
TEACHEY -- Spring Creek baseball coach Roger May still hasn't figured out the true spark that has ignited his team during the second half of the season. He hopes the flame doesn't burn out any time soon.
The Gators continued their first-ever journey in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs with a stunning victory Thursday evening. Randy Amos threw a one-hitter, lifting Spring Creek to a 13-3 upset against No. 3-ranked Wallace-Rose Hill in an eastern quarterfinal matchup at Thell B. Overman Field.
"I wish I knew the answer right now," May said. "I don't really know what we've done since Easter, but we're just gelling right now. Our momentum is going (well) and you've just got to love it."
The Gators now move on to take on the winner of tonight's Ayden-Grifton and Princeton quarterfinal game on Tuesday in Seven Springs. It will be Spring Creek's fourth meeting of the season against either familiar Carolina Conference foe.
Spring Creek capitalized on an uncharacteristic seven errors by the Bulldogs and pushed 10 unearned runs across against three pitchers. Officials halted the contest after six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Amos batted 4-for-4 and drove in two runs. Michael Sigmon, who threw a shutout against Midway on Monday, added three hits and an RBI in four plate appearances. The Gators collected nine hits, including four doubles, and all nine starters reached base at least one time. The Wallace-Rose Hill pitching staff threw just one perfect inning -- the first.
"You know, I was going to change the lineup tonight, but why change something that's working?" May said.
After a scoreless first, the Gators (17-9) benefited from numerous Bulldog mistakes in the second. Two throwing errors on Derek Kirby's routine ground ball started a four-run uprising. Jeff Kincaid, Amos' courtesy runner, and Blake Thompson scored on the play. Norman Sites and Kirby later scored on two more infield errors for the 4-0 lead.
The Bulldogs, the Super Six champions, answered in their half of the second. Two infield errors, a wild pitch and a passed ball helped them close the gap to 4-2. At that point, May asked for a timeout and called his infield to the mound.
"He told us you've got to be mentally tough and perform your normal actions in a relaxed manner under pressure," Amos said. "You've got to get in front of the ball, knock it down and make the plays.
"You've got to get the out. That was our bad inning, and we got it done later on."
Amos fanned lead-off hitter Joseph Harrell to end the inning. The right-hander yielded his only hit in the third, a one-out single to University of Richmond signee Mark Burroughs. Miles Teachey plated the Bulldogs' final run with a fielder's choice.
Wallace-Rose Hill (21-6) never threatened again.
Amos (8-4) allowed just one Bulldog to reach base and retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. He induced four ground-ball outs, three infield pop-ups, two shallow fly balls to the outfield and picked up one strikeout.
"I was a little wild there in the first two or three innings," Amos said. "I got a great defense behind me. It helps when you've got guys like that behind you and up at the plate."
Amos threw less than 40 pitches in the final three innings.
"You can't say enough about Randy," May said. "He hit his spots, changed his speeds and that's what pitching is all about. You can't ask for two better pitchers right now."
"(Wallace-Rose Hill's) game plan is very similar to ours -- put pressure on you, and that's what we did. We made them make some plays. That was a good test for us. I told the guys that if you do the little things and make routine plays, you win the baseball game."
Wallace-Rose Hill entered the game ranked No. 3 in the latest Impact Baseball.com 1-A poll. The Bulldogs had not lost in their last 13 outings.
Revenge might not have been a factor for the Gators, but they finally turned the tables on the Bulldogs. Wallace-Rose Hill's football and boys basketball teams eliminated Spring Creek from the playoffs this calendar school year.
"The third time is the charm," said a grinning Roy Whitfield, the Gators' athletics director.
Indeed it is.
2004 N.C. High School
Class 1-A Baseball Playoffs
(at Thell B. Overman Field)
Spring Creek 042 304 -- 13 9 2
W.-Rose Hill 021 000 -- 3 1 7
Leading hitters -- Spring Creek -- Michael Sigmon 3-4, 2B, RBI; Randy Amos 4-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Blake Thompson 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Derek Kirby 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI. Wallace-Rose Hill -- Mark Burroughs 1-2. LOB -- Spring Creek 7, Wallace-Rose Hill 4. SB -- M. Teachey, Bra. Teachey, Potter. SF -- B. Thompson. SH -- Potter.
IP H R ER BB SO
Amos (W, 8-4) 6 1 3 1 4 2
James (L) 12Ú3 1 4 0 3 1
Fussell 2 5 5 2 0 0
M. Teachey 21Ú3 3 4 1 2 1
WP -- Amos, M. Teachey 3. PB -- Potter. HBP -- Sites (by James), Sites (by Fussell).
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