05/17/06 — 3-A playoffs - Conley eliminates Aycock in 9-inning thriller

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3-A playoffs - Conley eliminates Aycock in 9-inning thriller

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 17, 2006 2:23 PM

PIKEVILLE -- A standing-room-only crowd that spilled over into the top row of the football bleachers was treated to a dandy, first-round playoff thriller Tuesday evening on the Charles B. Aycock baseball diamond.

But this matchup between two of the east's top five teams seemed almost unfair and more fitting of a later-round encounter in N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A postseason play.

Still, neither team disappointed its respective fans.

North Carolina signee Alex White smacked a ninth-inning home run and propelled D.H. Conley to a 3-1 victory. White recorded 15 strikeouts and tossed a complete game for the Vikings, ranked No. 9 in the latest ImpactBaseball.com poll.

C.B. Aycock, ranked No. 4 statewide, concluded the year 24-3.

"Our guys really wanted it and believed they could win it coming in," said Golden Falcons coach Charles Davis. "White is everything that you've read about and heard about. He did it on the mound for them and did it at the plate for them.

"My guys, I tell you, I couldn't be more prouder of a group of guys to come up and face someone of that caliber."

White, a senior, scattered three hits and yielded one walk. The right-hander, whose fastball averages in the low- to mid-90s, retired 18 of the final 21 batters he faced.

The Golden Falcons had five base runners and left two stranded. The Vikings turned an inning-ending double play in the third and catcher Tripp Moser gunned down Evan Medford, who attempted to steal second base in the sixth inning.

Junior Garrett Davis slugged a first-inning home run high into the trees over the right center-field fence. It was Davis' fourth round-tripper of the season and Aycock's 26th overall.

""When you've got a chance to be with Alex on the field, whether it's our side or the other team's side, you just sit back and enjoy how good he can be," said D.H. Conley coach Jason Mills, whose team emerged the 4-A state champion a year ago. "He's thrown like that all year and hasn't had a bad outing yet ... knock on wood."

Davis threw a superb game for Aycock.

The junior right-hander collected 12 strikeouts and limited D.H. Conley to two hits in an eight-inning stint. Davis (7-1) surrendered an unearned run in the second inning and escaped what could have been a disastrous fourth inning.

The Vikings tied the game at 1-1 in the second.

With two outs and runners at first and second, Mills called for the double steal. Spencer Hamilton, who singled, got hung up between first and second. Mark Potter, who drew a one-out walk, took off for home.

Davis turned just in time to see Potter heading for the plate, but overthrew third baseman Thomas Pilkington. Hampton slid safely into third, however, Davis struck out the next batter to end the inning.

"We worked on that (double steal) in practice yesterday, but things happen like that," said coach Davis. "D.H. Conley doesn't have a real good-hitting ball club, but they make things happen.

"It's a game of breaks and we just could not get the break when we needed it. Garrett threw his heart out."

D.H. Conley (18-6) put two runners in scoring position in the fourth inning. Catcher Bennett Jeffreys tracked down White between third and home on a fielder's choice groundout. Davis induced an inning-ending groundout to preserve the 1-1 tie.

Viking right fielder Mike Taylor drilled a 3-2 pitch deep to right center in the fifth inning, but senior Jackson Massey snagged the ball just as he ran into the wall.

Jeffreys mowed down Conley's Grayson Walker attempting to steal second in the sixth inning.

"Bad coaching," lamented Mills. "My kids overcame my bad coaching. I did some things that got us in trouble and didn't take advantage of situations. I take full responsibility.

"Good clubs win games despite their coaches."

White greeted Aycock reliever Brandon Price with a lead-off homer, his 11th of the season, in the ninth. Price surrendered a one-out double to Gupton and a pinch-hit, RBI single to Adam Schulte with two outs.

The Golden Falcons went quietly in the seventh and suffered a first-round playoff loss for the first time since 2001.

2006 N.C. High School

Athletic Association

Class 3-A Playoffs

(at C.B. Aycock HS, Pikeville)

D.H. Conley 010 000 002 -- 3 5 1

C.B. Aycock 100 000 000 -- 1 3 2

Leading hitters -- D.H. Conley -- Alex White 1-3, HR, RBI; Scott Gupton 1-3, 2B; Spencer Hampton 1-3; Adam Schulte 1-1, RBI; Spencer Fagan 1-3. C.B. Aycock -- Garrett Davis 1-3, HR, RBI; Thomas Pilkington 1-3; Evan Medford 1-3.

DP -- D.H. Conley 1. LOB -- D.H. Conley 5, C.B. Aycock 2. SB -- Potter, Hampton, Fagan. CS -- Walker, Medford.


D.H. Conley

White (W, 8-0) 9 3 1 1 1 15

C.B. Aycock

Davis 8 2 1 0 3 12

Price (L, 9-2) 1 3 2 2 0 2

WP -- White, Davis.