Troubled inning haunts Snow Hill
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 13, 2004 2:00 PM
SNOW HILL -- "One inning killed us."
The statement echoed through the Snow Hill Senior American Legion team dugout after Pitt County Post 39 used a huge fourth inning to swipe the momentum of Game One of the Area One East South Division playoffs on Monday night.
Trailing 3-0, Post 39 scored eight runs on nine hits in the fourth, stringing together seven straight hits as the visitors went on to claim a 12-5 win at the James R. Fulghum Athletic Complex.
The best-of-three series now shifts to Greenville's Guy Smith Stadium tonight at 7 p.m. If necessary, game three will be at the same location.
"We've just got to come out and lay it all on the line tonight," Snow Hill coach James Fulghum said.
Pitt County's Brian Ford started the fourth-inning rally with an infield single off of Snow Hill starter Jordy Grady before Mark Letchworth popped to short for the first out. Everything seemed to go Post 39's way from that point. Jason Cargile started the string of seven consecutive hits and drove in a run. Alex White, who had two doubles and three RBI, provided an opposite-field double to left-centerfield before Brandon Manning and Brandon Scott added run-scoring singles.
Scott reached first safely on a successfully executed squeeze bunt -- the first of two effective squeezes by Pitt County in the inning.
"Our execution of creative baseball was the biggest thing for us ... a little small ball," Pitt County Post 39 coach Mike Mullis said. "The air being the way it was tonight, big ball wasn't going to happen. We are blessed with guys with pretty good tools and they made it happen for us tonight."
Grady yielded four earned runs in the fourth before Fulghum called on Blake Taylor, who also gave up four runs in the inning, three of which were earned.
After yielding three runs on five hits in the second and third innings, Pitt County starter Alex White seemed to get stronger with the five-run cushion. White, who had 10 strikeouts, allowed no runs and just two more hits in his next 31Ú3 innings of work.
Pitt County left-hander Garrett Bullock was originally slated to start the game, but was pulled five minutes before the game due to a minor muscle pull in his chest. Mullis praised White's ability to work well on short notice.
"It was remarkable for him to go out there and do that kind of job," Mullis said. "That's all you can ask of a guy when you give him the ball, especially 10 minutes before the game."
Ryan Graepel took over on the mound following White's 10th strikeout in the top of the seventh and tossed the final 22Ú3 innings.
Snow Hill was the aggressor offensively early on as Jordy Davis, who had three hits, and Cody Fuquay provided back-to-back singles with two outs in the second. Chip Wall then delivered an RBI double to shallow right-center -- scoring Davis for the first run.
In the third, Blake Taylor raced home from second when Joe Wade's sharp groundball to first was misplayed by the Post 39 first baseman. Davis drove in John Conway, who walked, with an infield single.
Snow Hill got its final two runs with two outs in the eighth when Jordan Scott's fly ball to right was dropped, allowing both Davis and Edward Greene to score.
All nine Pitt County starters recorded hits, while six batters had multiple-hit performances -- White, Manning, Graepel, Letchworth, Cargile and Tanner Jones.
Snow Hill had six errors in the game, ultimately leading to two unearned runs.
"You can't make mistakes against those guys, or they will make you pay," Fulghum said.
Snow Hill right-hander Blake Herring is expected to get the start tonight for Post 94.
"They are always going to be ready to go. Number one, they are Snow Hill. Number two, you know Rabbit Fulghum is their coach," Mullis said about his opponent. "Our motto is enjoy this one until midnight. But, we've got to be ready to go tomorrow night."
2004 Area I East
South Division Playoffs
First round -- Best-of-3
(at Greene Central HS)
Pitt Co. 39 000 800 130 -- 12 16 2
Snow Hill 012 000 020 -- 5 8 6
Leading hitters -- Pitt County -- Alex White 2-4, 2 2B; 3 RBI; Brandon Manning 2-6, RBI; Ryan Graepel 3-6, 2 runs; Mark Letchworth 2-5, 2 RBI; Jason Cargile 2-5, RBI, 2 runs; Tanner Jones 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI. Snow Hill -- Jordy Davis 3-5, RBI, 2 runs; Chip Wall 1-3, 2B, RBI.
IP H R ER BB SO
White (W) 61Ú3 7 3 3 2 10
Graepel 22Ú3 2 2 0 1 4
Grady (L) 31Ú3 5 4 4 1 1
Taylor 31Ú3 7 5 3 1 3
James 21Ú3 4 3 3 0 2
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