04/27/05 — Gerrell homers twice, drives in seven as Princeton wins

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Gerrell homers twice, drives in seven as Princeton wins

By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on April 27, 2005 2:02 PM

PRINCETON -- Daniel Gerrell decided to end this one before the rain could.

Gerrell hit a walk-off home run -- driving in three of his career-high seven runs -- into the mist-filled sky during the fifth inning Tuesday night as defending N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A East champion Princeton defeated visiting North Duplin 15-3 in a Carolina Conference matchup.

The sophomore third baseman also added a two-run homer to keep the first-place Bulldogs (14-4 overall, 7-2 Carolina 1-A) out front in the race for one of the conference's two available playoff spots.

"I love the way we swung the bats tonight," Princeton coach Bruce Proctor said. "When we got the chance to swing the bat, we did a good job. I love to see it. (Gerrell) just absolutely tore the cover off the ball."

So did sophomore right fielder Colin Parker.

Parker added three RBIs and scored twice to help the Bulldogs overcome a surprising 3-0 deficit after the first inning.

The Rebels (6-9, 2-7) committed four errors to aid the comeback.

"That makes a big difference, especially when you start swinging the bats," Proctor said. "When you take advantage and create extra outs, it makes a big difference."

Staff ace Josh Thompson allowed only one baserunner -- via a walk -- after surrendering three first-inning runs. Thompson finished with 11 strikeouts in four innings of work.

North Duplin was limited to three hits -- all coming in the top of the first.

Thompson picked up the win despite failing to complete a game for the first time in six starts.

"It felt good early on," Rebels coach Robbie Futch said. "We put together a couple of hits early and made a couple plays. We were still in it early but kind of let things slip away."

Gerrell's two-run triple highlighted an eight-run rally by the Bulldogs in the second inning.

Notes: Princeton had lost two of three entering the game. ... Sterling Grice and Ryan Smith had an RBI each for North Duplin. ... Princeton CF Brooks Moore had a triple and scored two runs. ... Kyle Harmon pitched a perfect fifth inning for Princeton, striking out one. ... North Duplin hosts Ayden-Grifton on Friday night. ... Princeton travels to county rival North Johnston next.