07/05/05 — Snow Hill tops New Bern

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Snow Hill tops New Bern

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 5, 2005 1:47 PM

NEW BERN -- Veteran Snow Hill Post 94 coach James "Rabbit" Fulghum felt that unwelcomed sense of "deja vu" Sunday evening when his team carried a four-run lead into the ninth inning against Area I East nemesis New Bern.

Fulghum experienced flashbacks of two years ago when Post 24 unleashed a game-winning rally in its half of the ninth inning and escaped by one run.

It didn't happen this time.

Relief pitcher Drew Sowers responded to a pressure-packed situation and helped Snow Hill claim a 9-7 decision at Boykin Field. The victory kept Post 94 in contention for an Area I East Division playoff berth heading into Monday evening's tilt at Wilson.

New Bern finished 10-9 overall and in the division.

Snow Hill led 9-5 in the ninth, but reliever Brad Bagley encountered trouble and loaded the bases. He threw three consecutive balls to Brad Legge before Fulghum called the reliable Sowers from the bullpen.

Sowers fired two perfect strikes low and away before Legge lofted a fly ball to shallow right field. Brandon Brown made a perfect diving catch, which allowed Post 24 to pull within 9-6. Sowers yielded an RBI single to Chris Watson before inducing a game-ending groundout.

"Sowers did a great job coming in and throwing strikes," said Fulghum. "Brown made a couple of good catches in right field."

Six starters collected at least one RBI each as Snow Hill built a 7-0 lead through 3 1/2 innings. Tommy Cobb, Richie Turner, Matthew Whitley and Lance Murray -- the bottom four hitters in the lineup -- ignited a four-run uprising in the second inning. Cobb added an RBI single in the third.

Post 94 pushed two more runs across in the fourth against Martin, who threw a complete game in just his second start of the season. Martin gave up 10 hits, but held Snow Hill hitless the final four innings.

"The bottom of the order cranked us up," Fulghum said. "We got a break tonight because we weren't facing up-the-line pitching like we have the last six or seven games. They didn't have (Adam) Warren on the mound and they didn't have that left-hander (Lemmie Barwick) on the mound.

"Our kids battled hard and did some good things."

Snow Hill right-hander Chip Wall experienced one hiccup -- a five-run fourth inning -- in a solid, seven-inning performance. The Campbell University signee struck out eight, walked one and yielded three earned runs.

"One inning we didn't help him, but they hit the ball," Fulghum said. "We learned a lot that inning. He was better after that and had three more good innings."

New Bern finished with 10 hits, including a 4-for-5 effort from Watson. Matt Sanders provided three hits and Warren added two hits, along with an RBI, in four plate appearances.

However, Post 24 left nine runners on base with five in scoring position.

"We had opportunities to score more," New Bern coach Gary Smith said. "Wall strikes out the side with runners on first and second (in the sixth). He threw quality pitches when he had to. But it was good to see the offense wake up and a lot of that had to do with energy."

Smith's team was playing its fifth contest in three days. They split a doubleheader with Nash County on Friday and lost back-to-back games Saturday against Kinston and Wilson, respectively. The Kinston outcome was decided in 11 innings.

Snow Hill (12-9, 9-9 Area I East) picked up its third win in its last four tries.

Cobb, Whitley and Hunter Chase each had two hits. Chase and lead-off batter Jordan Scott emerged the RBI leaders with two each. First baseman Blake Taylor led the defense with 11 putouts, while Chase recorded two putouts and five assists at second base.