07/07/04 — Snow Hill keeps playoff hopes alive by topping New Bern

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Snow Hill keeps playoff hopes alive by topping New Bern

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 7, 2004 1:57 PM

NEW BERN -- Snow Hill Post 94's dim playoff hopes glowed a little brighter after its 10-inning, 4-3 triumph against New Bern Post 24 on Tuesday evening.

The victory proved critical for several reasons.

* Should Snow Hill sweep its week-ending series against Kinston, then it clinches the Area I East South Division's fourth and final postseason berth. But Post 94 could claim the third seed if New Bern falls in its regular-season finale Thurs-day at division champion Wayne County.

The teams would be tied at 5-5, but Snow Hill gets the nod because of its regular-season sweep of Post 24.

* A Post 94 split against Kinston, provided it loses tonight at Pitt County Post 39, will qualify it for the postseason. Snow Hill owns the tiebreaker advantage in the New Bern series since Kinston split with Post 24.

* Despite the extra-inning defeat, New Bern (11-5) grabbed a playoff spot after Wayne County dumped Kinston 12-1 in seven innings.

However, the playoff format remains up in the air. Coaches and league athletic officers certainly differ on the tournament situation. One group says teams from the North will play each other in their division in the postseason. A few coaches have disagreed and contended the North teams will "cross over" into the South division portion of the bracket.

The coaches and athletic officers have voiced their concerns in emails and phone messages placed to the home of Area I commissioner Barry Moore. But Moore had not responded to most of those messages by Wednesday morning.

"This keeps us in the hunt, but I don't know what the hunt is," Post 94 coach James "Rabbit" Fulghum said. "But, this was a big win for us."

Rare timely hits and converting runners in scoring position proved key for each team.

Snow Hill (8-10, 3-5 South) collected seven hits, including three from lead-off man Jordan Scott. But Post 94 stranded nine runners -- five at either second or third base.

"We hit the ball throughout the lineup, but couldn't get the timely hit," Fulghum said.

New Bern (5-4 South) managed six hits against Snow Hill hurlers Travis Rouse and Blake Taylor. But, like the visitors, Post 24 had trouble pushing runs across. It stranded 11 men on base with six in scoring position and left the bases loaded in sixth.

Rouse tossed five quality innings and consistently hit his spots. The left-hander threw three perfect innings and yielded two unearned runs on three hits to go along with two strikeouts. Taylor surrendered one run on three hits in three-plus innings.

Fulghum said not falling behind was pivotal. Snow Hill owned leads of 2-0 and 3-2 only to see Post 24 tie the con-

test each time. New Bern could have broken the game open on several occasions, but went hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position in innings six through nine.

"We just haven't been able to get a big hit in the last three games," New Bern coach Gary Smith said. "The other night against Pitt County (39) we left nine men on base and I have no idea how many we left on tonight. Guys in our lineup early in the year were contributing and now, all of a sudden, the well has gone dry."

Herring (2-3) replaced Taylor in the ninth and thwarted a possible game-ending rally. Post 24 stranded lead-off hitter Mike O'Connor, who walked, at third base.

Scott started the Snow Hill 10th with a single up the middle and moved to second on Herring's sacrifice bunt. New Bern reliever Joey Young uncorked a wild pitch just outside the plate and Scott gambled on taking third. He stole the base successfully and the throw from catcher Max Schott bounced into right-field territory.

Scott easily scored the game-winning run and salvaged Post 94's postseason hopes.

Snow Hill 002 001 000 1 -- 4 7 3

New Bern 002 000 100 0 -- 3 6 3

Leading hitters -- Snow Hill -- Jordan Scott 3-4, 3B, RBI; Blake Taylor 1-2, RBI; Jon Allen Conway 1-4; Jordy Davis 1-5; Cody Fuquay 1-4, 2B. New Bern -- Mike O'Connor 2-3, 2B; Matt Sanders 3-5, 2B; Cannon Forrest 1-2.

DP -- New Bern 1. LOB -- Snow Hill 9, New Bern 11. SH -- Beck, McKnight, Scott, Herring. SB -- Seymore. CS -- O'Connor, Taylor.


Snow Hill Post 94

Rouse 5 3 2 0 3 2

Taylor 3 1/3 3 1 1 1 1

Herring (W, 2-3) 1 2/3 0 0 0 1 2

New Bern Post 24

Noble 6 6 3 2 2 8

Young (L) 4 1 1 0 4 1

WP -- Rouse, Taylor. PB -- Wade. HBP -- O'Connor (by Rouse).