07/07/05 — Snow Hill falls in game one to Kinston

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Snow Hill falls in game one to Kinston

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 7, 2005 1:46 PM

KINSTON -- Like most four versus five match-ups in tournament play, Snow Hill Post 94 and Kinston Post 43 dueled practically evenly on Wednesday night at Kinston High School.

The difference -- Post 43 got some timely hits in the bottom of the eighth inning and left-hander Paul Novicki picked up steam as the game progressed as Kinston claimed game one of the best-of-three series 5-3.

Weather permitting, Post 94 will host game two tonight at 7 p.m. at Greene Central with a third game (if necessary) switching back to Kinston on Friday. Saturday is the rain date, and the second round begins on Sunday.

"You've got to win two to win it," Snow Hill coach James "Rabbit" Fulghum said. "We never got the timely hit tonight and Novicki got better. They deserved to win."

Each team consistently squandered scoring chances through most of the game as Novicki, who threw a whopping, 155 pitches, and Snow Hill hurler Jordy Davis pitched out of jams. Post 94 stranded 10 overall and six in scoring position, while Post 43 also left 10 on the bags.

Kinston finally broke the 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth as Novicki started the inning with a walk against Post 94 reliever Drew Sowers, then raced all the way to third on a two-base, passed ball.

With one out, ninth-hitter Eric Jordan brought home Novicki, while Richard Nobles followed two batters later with an RBI single to right to score Jordan with two outs. Sowers, who struck out two in a perfect seventh inning, was saddled with the loss in two innings of relief.

"I feel like these two teams are similar in a lot of ways. There were opportunities for both teams," Kinston coach Ronnie Battle said. "We all had our chances with our big guns up."

Snow Hill scratched for one run in the third when Blake Taylor reached second on a two-base error and scored on a single to right center by Hunter Chase as Kinston held a 2-1 lead.

Post 94 took a short-lived, 3-2 advantage in the fourth when Tommy Cobb, Brad Bagley and Jordan Scott posted hits, while Travis Rouse provided an RBI groundout and Lance Murray reached on an error that led to a run. The miscue proved Kinston's third and final of the game behind the left-hander from South Lenoir.

Novicki, who was also hit by two pitches and drilled with a line drive in the leg in the seventh, allowed seven more hits in the final five innings, but issued no walks and no hit batters during the stretch.

His defense cut down three Post 94 base-runners, including a perfect throw from right-fielder David Curington to third baseman Josh Kennedy to get Brandon Brown for the second out in the fifth. Brown tried to go from first to third on a single to right by Cobb.

For the first out in the same inning, Snow Hill's John Conway was picked off second on a throw from catcher Davin Arnold to short stop Brandon Rouse, who provided three hits for Kinston.

"I sent him (Brown), but the boy made a good throw and he was out on the play at third," Fulghum said. "On the other play, Conway just strayed too far."

Novicki finished with eight strikeouts getting five of the K's in the final six outs. He gave up 12 hits, but just one earned run. Davis struck out five against one walk, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits.

Right-hander Blake Taylor is expected to throw game two for Post 94. Battle was undecided of who would get the ball for Post 43.

Notes: There were only two, 1-2-3 half innings, the bottom of the seventh and top of the eighth. Kinston leads Snow Hill 2-1 in the season-series but is being out-scored 19-16 in the three meetings.