04/05/05 — Falcons halt N. Lenoir's win streak

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Falcons halt N. Lenoir's win streak

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 5, 2005 1:55 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Two innings of defensive miscues and inconsistent pitching aided Charles B. Aycock's effort in halting North Lenoir's eight-game win streak Monday afternoon.

The Golden Falcons sent 18 batters to the plate in the third and fourth innings combined, and capitalized on every opportunity in a 10-5, non-conference victory. The teams split the regular-season series with each winning on their home diamond.

"A couple of errors and wild pitches ... you've got to be opportunistic and take advantage of other teams' mistakes," said C.B. Aycock coach Charles Davis, who picked up career win No. 251. "At one time earlier this season, we were not doing that. Now it seems like we're able to do it. The little things we did well led to bigger innings."

Aycock (7-3) seized its fifth consecutive victory in what Davis calls a "big week" for his team. The Golden Falcons head to Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference foe South Central today and entertain county rival Eastern Wayne on Friday.

All three teams are tied atop the conference at 4-1.

Meanwhile, veteran North Lenoir coach Jim Montague offered little solace for his team's effort. Key injuries depleted the lineup, but Montague refused to use that as an excuse.

Role players simply didn't perform.

"We've got the type of guys on our ball club that when everything goes great, they're great," Montague said. "When everything is not so great, they just quit. They're not the competitors they need to be to compete in the conference we're getting ready to start Friday."

North Lenoir (8-1) erupted offensively in the opening inning. Lead-off batter Josh Williams slapped Adam Williams' second pitch -- a belt-high fast ball -- over the center-field fence. Donald Beal delivered a two-out RBI single for a 2-0 advantage.

However, the Hawks failed to keep the lead.

Aycock answered with Bennett Jeffreys' first-inning RBI groundout. Hawks left-hander Brandon Sutton threw three of his eight wild pitches in the second inning, which allowed the game-tying run to score.

"I don't mind a pitcher staying low, but when they're down that low consistently, not getting a single pitch over for a strike, it's going to be a long day," Montague said. "We couldn't get our breaking pitch or our change-up over, a good-hitting team like C.B. Aycock is going to do what they did today."

The Golden Falcons grabbed the lead for good with a three-run uprising in the third. Drew McGowan, coming off a two-hit showing at Wilson Beddingfield, slapped a two-RBI double to center-field gap. Bradley Taylor collected the other run on a wild pitch.

Sutton allowed three straight hits to start the fourth and departed the mound in favor of right-handed reliever Justin Carter. With Carter on the hill, Aycock benefited from two errors, a double-steal of home and a hit batsman.

While the Golden Falcons took control offensively, pitcher Adam Williams continued to battle through an uncharacteristic start. The senior left-hander issued five walks and scattered four hits in a five-inning stint.

He escaped a near-disastrous fifth after yielding consecutive walks to Alex McGaughy (2-for-2) and Sutton. McGaughy scored on Beal's sacrifice fly to right field, but Sutton was left stranded after Williams caught Brian Smith looking at a third strike.

"Adam might have been surprised that I gave him the start today, but he wanted the ball," Davis said. "He struggled a little bit and we saw some things that he was doing wrong. But Adam is a battler and that's something you can live with.

"He wasn't particularly sharp, but he stayed out there and toughed it out."

Right-hander Alex Raper replaced Williams and threw two innings of three-strikeout relief. The Aycock pitching staff has allowed just six runs in its last 35 innings to go along with 47 strikeouts.