Roller-Coster season ends for Snow Hill
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 10, 2005 9:09 AM
KINSTON -- In a season of "ups and downs," Friday night's 12-10 loss to Kinston in game three of a best-of-three, Senior American Legion Area I East Division Series proved to be a microcosm of Snow Hill's season.
Post 94 had a mid-game lead of 7-2, then took a 10-7 advantage into the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't hold on as Post 43 advanced to the second round where they will face Pitt County Post 39 in another best-of-three, beginning today in Greenville.
Snow Hill concluded the season at 14-11 overall after a fifth-place finish in the division standings. Kinston, the fourth-place team, will take a 14-12 record into its series with first-place Post 39 (16-3).
"We started out good, hit a lull, then we finished up good. Everybody had their 'ups' and each one had their 'downs' and that's how the season went," Snow Hill coach James "Rabbit" Fulghum said. "We had all 14 boys contribute and most of the time it's been 10 or 11 in the past years.
"Nearly every player got to swing the bat a lot and each pitcher got to throw some innings."
Facing deficits, Kinston put together rallies in its last three at-bats -- where it scored nine of its 12 runs -- and took advantage of a handful of Snow Hill miscues.
In the sixth, Snow Hill right-fielder Brandon Brown tossed out David Curington trying to score from second on a single by Andrew Davis for the second out of the inning as catcher Lance Murray applied the tag. Post 94 starter Chip Wall allowed three runs on five hits through the first five innings, but control problems and and untimely error by the defense chased him from the game.
After Wall hit Davin Arnold with the bases loaded, bringing one run home, Snow Hill's second baseman committed an error that allowed two more to score to make it 7-6. Fulghum brought in right-hander Brad Bagley, who issued the first of two, run-scoring balks on a fake pick-off throw as Kinston tied the contest.
Post 94 rallied back for three runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh when John Conway smacked a two-run triple to right field against Davis, the Kinston reliever, to score Blake Taylor and Brown, who reached on a double and single, respectively.
Conway eventually scored on Travis Rouse's fielder's choice to push Post 94 back up 10-7.
Again, Snow Hill couldn't hold the lead.
Bagley, who eventually had to come out of the game due to arm trouble, walked two and allowed a bunt single to load the bases, then issued a wild pitch and was called for his second balk to allow two more runs to score.
"I'm not sure about the first one, but he definitely balked on the second one," Fulghum said. "I wasn't watching the first one closely."
Post 43 tied the game on a fielder's choice by Josh Tindal, before Bagley -- complaining of pain in his forearm -- came out of the game.
"Our arms needed about two days off. Wall was real good, then he'd be real bad," Fulghum said. "We just couldn't find the consistency. We just couldn't hold it. We also made a couple of errors that hurt, but that's part of baseball."
Post 94 got a single by Jordan Scott in the eighth, but couldn't push across a run, while Kinston took its first and final lead in the eighth. Facing Drew Sowers, appearing in his third game in as many days, Post 43's Brandon Rouse reached on an infield single and Paul Novicki smacked a double down the right field line. Curington was walked to load the bases, then Josh Kennedy walked to bring home the eventual, game-winning run.
"We did some things at the end that were uncharacteristic of good baseball teams," Fulghum said. "But, Kinston came back, and you've got to give them credit."
Kinston got an insurance run when Novicki scored on a groundout by Davis with Richie Turner on in relief of Sowers.
Davis, who tossed the last 52/3 in relief of Richard Nobles, pitched around a hit-by-pitch and a walk in the ninth to pick up the win.
Turner had two big hits in the early innings -- drilling a three-run, first-inning home run to left center against Nobles to score Scott, Hunter Chase and Taylor. Turner posted a double to center to bring home Conway in the fourth to help boost Post 94 to a 7-2 lead. Murray, who caught every inning for Snow Hill this season, added a single in the fourth to bring home Rouse, who had two hits.
Scott and Taylor also had two hits each for Snow Hill.
Jordy Davis, Conway, Taylor and Scott aged-out and played in their final games for Post 94.
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