05/18/05 — Princeton opens playoffs with win

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Princeton opens playoffs with win

Published in Sports on May 18, 2005 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- The next time you see Princeton head baseball coach Bruce Proctor, he just might be sporting a beard. A razor could be the last thing on his mind after last night's 'close shave' against North Brunswick.

While the Bulldogs held on to win 6-4 in their opening round game in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs, held at the Fred Bartholomew Sports Complex, things got just a little bit too close for comfort.

"Survive and advance" was about all Proctor could do to assess what could have been a potential nightmare. "We're just glad to get the win and move on."

Princeton improves to 18-6 overall for the season. The Bulldogs entertain either Topsail or Hobbton at 7 p.m. Friday.

Proctor's club started out as though they were going to make short work of their guests. Eight batters went to the plate in the bottom of the first innings. Five of them went on to score.

Patrick Gatewood led off, hitting the first pitch from starter Dustin Medlin into left field for a single. After a walk to Colin Parker, Dustin Myers followed with a double bringing in Gatewood with the first run.

Medlin, who survived two line drives off his leg, surrendered singles to Daniel Gerrell, Brandon Pate, and Robert Gurley to account for the other runs.

Meanwhile, Brunswick was being handcuffed by a stingy Bulldog defense, as well as the pitching of Josh Thompson. Thompson, en route to his ninth win of the season, picked up two of his twelve strike outs in the first two innings.

He then teamed with Pate to close out the second inning on a nifty double play. Gerrell, undoubtedly the player of the game, batted 3-for-3 on the night and assisted on the first two outs of the game.

The Scorpions finally stung Thompson in the third. With a runner on first, senior shortstop Addison Gurganious hit his first and only homer of his career, cutting the score to 5-2. Ironically, on the prior pitch, Gatewood collided with first baseman Bren Hall as they both pursued Gurganious' foul pop.

Although North Brunswick would go on to score solo runs in the fourth and fifth, they were unable to do further damage to Thompson. Offensively, he drove home a crucial insurance run in the third. His single brought home Gerrell, who had tripled.

Defensively, he struck out nine of the final sixteen batters he faced. His total for the season now stands at 110. He's phenomenal," said Proctor. "He's really done a great job."

"I felt good out there tonight," said Thompson. "Their two home runs bothered me a bit. After that, I seemed to settle down."

"Our pattern all year has been to give up a lot of runs in the first inning," said North Brunswick coach Randy Fennell. "Take away those five runs, and we're in the ball game.

"Give credit to Princeton though. They came out swinging, put the ball in play and found the gaps. From top to bottom, they're a class organization and deserved the win."