Princeton baseball takes early lead in regional series
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on May 30, 2004 2:02 AM
WILLIAMSTON -- Redemption accomplished.
Princeton right-hander Dustin Myers wasn't pleased with his outing on Tuesday at Spring Creek. He exited the Class 1-A Eastern semifinal clash after less than three innings of work with his team trailing 4-1.
The junior responded with a gem of an effort in game one of the Eastern finals at Williamston. Myers yielded only three hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings of work to help boost Princeton to a 3-1 win over the Tigers at Skewarkee Park.
Myers also benefited from another solid defensive effort behind him as the Bulldogs turned in their second straight errorless game, with only one miscue in three playoff contests.
"I wanted to redeem myself a little bit. Everything went well and everybody came through," Myers said. "We've got great outfielders and our infielders are strong too. I wasn't working real good with my offspeed, so I was just changing speeds with my fastball a lot."
The Bulldogs and Tigers are set to duel in game two of the series on Tuesday at Princeton. A win by the Bulldogs would send Princeton back to the state championship for the first time since winning the 1-A title in 1994.
Josh Williams, who picked up the save on Saturday, should be the game two starter. Williams has two wins to his credit already in the playoffs.
Unlike their previous two road playoff wins over Ayden-Grifton and Spring Creek, the Bulldogs didn't have to come from behind on Saturday. Instead, they posted all of their runs the first inning to charge ahead 3-0 against Williamston starter Anthony Williams.
Bren Hall opened the game with a double to deep left field and came home on a single to right by Myers. Brandon Pate plated Patrick Gatewood, who walked, with a fielders choice before Brooks Moore added an RBI single to cap the rally.
From there, Williams settled into a pitching dual with Myers. Williams allowed four more walks, but allowed no hits in innings two through seven.
"There wasn't any resting in this one either. It was good game ... two good teams, I think," Princeton coach Bruce Proctor said. "I'm tickled we are going back to our place with one under our belt. I don't care how it happens, just as long as it happens."
After walking in his only run allowed in the second, Myers stayed around the strike zone and let his defense work behind him through the middle innings with a 3-1 lead. Williamston's Matt Whitaker posted a one-out single to left in the fifth, but was doubled off of first on a line drive to third baseman Adam Nethercutt.
Catcher Daniel Gerrell added a defensive gem in the sixth, stopping a pitch in the dirt, then gunning down pinch-runner Matt Howell trying to swipe second.
Princeton coach Bruce Proctor lifted Myers for Thompson after a two-out walk to Brody Bland in the sixth as Thompson came on to finish off Tigers with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless work.
Princeton had a couple of base-running miscues that stopped a pair of scoring opportunities against Williams. In the fourth, Williams picked off a runner at second with two outs with the hot-hitting Hall at the plate. After Daniel Gerrell started the sixth with a walk, a courtesy runner was doubled off at first on a popped-up bunt attempt to the Tigers' catcher.
"We didn't really execute some things real well, but we scrapped," Proctor said. "I'm just happy to have this win. These are good kids and they work hard."
Tuesday's game is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
2004 N.C. High School
Class 1-A Baseball Playoffs
Game one (best-of-three)
(at Skewarkee Park, Williamston)
Princeton 300 000 0 -- 3 3 0
Williamston 010 000 0 -- 1 3 1
Leading hitters -- Princeton -- Bren Hall 1-4, 2B; Dustin Myers 1-3, RBI; Brooks Moore 1-3, RBI. Williamston -- Seth Barnes 2-2.
IP H R ER BB SO
Dustin Myers (W) 5 2/3 3 1 1 5 1
Josh Thompson (S) 1 1/3 0 0 0 2 1
Anthony Williams (L) 7 3 3 2 6 1
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