05/03/06 — Aycock diamond 9 earn share of ECC baseball crown

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Aycock diamond 9 earn share of ECC baseball crown

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on May 3, 2006 2:17 PM

Consistent pitching.

Good defense.

Timely hitting.

Charles B. Aycock, winners now of 13 straight, performed well in all phases of the game in a 7-2 victory at Eastern Wayne on Tuesday in Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play.

Ranked No. 2 in the latest ImpactBaseball.com 3-A poll, the Golden Falcons (22-1 overall) improved to 9-0 in league play heading into Thursday's regular season finale at second-place Southern Wayne.

The Warriors (10-12 overall), who saw their four-game winning streak snapped, slipped to 5-4 in the ECC. Eastern Wayne hosts New Hanover today in a non-conference tilt, before finishing out their league slate on Thursday at Kinston.

Aycock got another solid outing from right-hander Brandon Price. Price went the distance and improved to 8-1 on the season, yielding just two runs on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts. After giving up a pair of runs in the second on Walker Gourley's game-tying single to left, the junior retired 11 in a row and 14 of the next 15 batters he faced.

"I just tried to get ahead. It's all about hitting my spots," Price said. "When they got their two runs, I think we got down a little bit. I just wanted to go out and sit 'em down ... pump everyone up so we could score some more runs."

With a five-run cushion in the bottom of the seventh, Price yielded a pair of singles to Michael Mintz and Gourley, before finishing off the win with a pop out and fielder's choice -- both to shortstop Will Spence. The Golden Falcons' lone error came in the second on an errant pick-off throw to first by Price as his defense made every routine play and turned in three, 1-2-3 innings.

"We've really concentrated and worked on our defense. We were shaky early on in the season, but a lot of the credit goes to the kids," Davis said. "They've taken it upon themselves to take pride in their defense."

Aycock pitchers have now given up three runs or less in their last nine games.

The Falcons jumped on the board with two in the top of the second against Eastern Wayne senior starter Tyler Ham. K.C. Kartch and Price provided RBI singles, scoring Joseph Toler, who doubled, and Bradley Taylor.

Over the next three innings, Ham appeared to be settling into a pitcher's duel with Price -- giving up just two hits and an unearned run. But Taylor started the sixth with a solo home run to left, then Spence plated Davis with an infield single later in the inning as the Falcons took a 5-2 lead. Ham (4-4) gave up five runs (four earned) on fine hits with five strikeouts and one walk in six innings of work.

One inning later, freshman righty John Wooten had trouble finding the strike zone, walking four -- including one with the bases loaded -- and giving up an RBI single to Kartch.

"We didn't pitch well tonight. Ham has thrown well, but he didn't have it tonight," Eastern Wayne coach Jabo Fulghum said. "Wooten didn't have it when he came in, but that's going to happen every now and again. You've just got to bounce back and keep playing."

By game's end, six different Falcons drove in runs and seven registered hits. Five of Aycock's seven RBIs came from hitters six-through-nine as Taylor, Kartch and Davis had two hits each.

"It was a total team effort tonight," Davis said. "If you can play well in all three phases of the game, you're always going to put yourself in position to win."

Gourley had two hits for the Warriors. Joey Moye, who doubled to start the sixth, Wooten and Mintz added one hit apiece.

Both teams turned in a handful of defensive gems. Eastern Wayne first baseman Chad Sutton snagged a hard-hit liner in the sixth, then dove to catch a pop foul near the home dugout in the seventh. For Aycock, Toler leaped to snare a line drive hit by Ham in the third, while Kartch jumped to grab a high throw from short and managed to come down and find the bag to retire Taylor Sutton for the second out in the sixth.

Ham, Moye, Chad Sutton, Joey Burridge and Chris Brown played in their final regular season home games for the Warriors on Senior Night.

C.B. Aycock 020 012 2 -- 7 10 1

E. Wayne 020 000 0 -- 2 5 2

Leading hitters -- C.B. Aycock -- Bradley Taylor 2-3, HR, RBI, 2 runs; K.C. Kartch 2-4, 2 RBIs; Garrett Davis 2-3, RBI; Brandon Price 1-3, RBI; Bennett Jeffreys 1-4, 2B; Joseph Toler 1-3, 2B, 2 runs. Eastern Wayne -- Walker Gourley 2-3, 2 RBIs; Joey Moye 1-3, 2B; John Wooten 1-3; Michael Mintz 1-2.


C.B. Aycock

B. Price (W, 8-1) 7 5 2 2 0 3

Eastern Wayne

T. Ham (L, 4-4) 6 9 5 4 1 5

J. Wooten 1 1 2 2 4 1