07/02/06 — Snow Hill falls in finale

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Snow Hill falls in finale

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 2, 2006 2:18 AM

SNOW HILL -- On the verge of missing the postseason for the first time in over three decades, Snow Hill's American Legion team looked poised to at least finish on a high note on their home field on Friday night against Edenton.

But a late rally by the visitors spoiled Post 94's home finale.

Down 6-2, Edenton erupted for five runs in the top of the ninth against Snow Hill starter Drew Sowers to claim a 7-6 win in an Area I East contest at Greene Central High School.

Post 40's Robbie Atkinson, Eric Snow, John Layton and Derek Simpson started the outburst with four-straight singles and all scored. Simpson came across to tie the game at 6-6 on Joseph Westbrook's groundout, before Landon Jordan, who had three hits and scored three runs, singled with one out.

Broc Sutton followed with a groundball to first, but the first baseman's throw was wide of second as Jordan sprinted to third. The left fielder backed up the play, but made another errant throw to third to allow Jordan to race home for the game-winning run. Earlier in the inning, Atkinson tallied Edenton's first run of the rally on a passed ball.

"We just took the approach that we were going to take his slider the other way. We were fortunate to win this game tonight," Edenton coach Bob Jordan said. "We have lost four-or-five close ones, so we were probably due to win one like this. These guys don't quit. We don't feel like we are ever out of a ballgame."

Heading into the ninth, Sowers -- with help from his defense -- was cruising.

Starting with a flashy, 1-4-6-3 double-play to end the third, which hit off Sowers' glove before being fielded by Blake Taylor at second, Sowers sat down 15-of-16 in the middle and late innings. Edenton managed no runs and just two hits during the stretch as the right-handed, Lenoir Community College signee stayed around the strike zone and let the defense work behind him.

After Post 40 (12-6, 12-6) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with one run each in the first and third, Edenton's Kirk Higgins, who finished 4-5 with a double and an RBI, managed the only two hits off Sowers in innings 3-8. Sowers finished with just one walk in nine innings of work.

"Drew pitched a great game. They just put the ball in the holes," Snow Hill coach Rabbit Fulghum said. "Our pitching wasn't bad, but they were just on their fourth time around in the order and they made some good adjustments."

Post 94 (7-12, 5-12) scored all six of its runs with two outs as Chip Wall, a Campbell University performer, posted the first of his three hits with a double to center in the fourth against Edenton starter Steven Brown -- scoring Richie Turner and Sowers to make it 2-2. Two innings later and after a Matthew Whitley sacrifice bunt, Wall drove in two more with a two-out single up the middle, then charged home from third on a double-steal to make it 5-2.

In the eighth, Hunter Chase ripped a clutch single to center off Atkinson, who came on in relief, to bring home Wall for Snow Hill's final run.

Atkinson tallied the win in two innings of work for Post 40, which faced Pitt County Post 160 in a doubleheader on Saturday to conclude the regular season. Edenton, playing with just nine on Friday due to several players being out on vacation, will open the first round, best-of-three Area I East playoffs on Tuesday.

Despite the loss and the disappointing season, Fulghum was pleased to see his team play energetically on Friday -- despite having little hope for the postseason.

"We had a lot of energy. I was especially proud of that, knowing their chances were null," Fulghum said. "We haven't really played bad this year. Our bats went a little south, but we picked that up tonight. The league is just a lot more competitive top-to-bottom."

Post 94 finished the regular season at New Bern on Saturday. Results on this game were not available at press time.

Edenton 101 000 005 -- 7 12 2

Snow Hill 000 203 010 -- 6 8 4

Leading hitters -- Edenton -- Kirk Higgins 4-5, 2B, RBI; Landon Jordan 3-5, 3 runs; Steven Brown 1-4, RBI; Derek Simpson 1-4, RBI. Snow Hill -- Chip Wall 3-4, 2B, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Hunter Chase 1-5, RBI; Tommy Cobb 1-4, run; Richie Turner 1-3, 2 runs; Lance Murray 1-4; Blake Taylor 1-3.



S. Brown 7 6 5 3 1 5

R. Atkinson (W) 2 2 1 1 0 1

Snow Hill

D. Sowers (L) 9 12 7 5 1 4