03/23/07 — Battle at Pikeville: State-ranked Hawks upend state-ranked Golden Falcons

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Battle at Pikeville: State-ranked Hawks upend state-ranked Golden Falcons

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on March 23, 2007 2:15 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Nothing was going to stop Sthil Sowers.

Not the fatigue. Not the tough Charles B. Aycock lineup. Not the pressure of pitching in front of pro scouts.

Sowers was going to finish what he started for North Lenoir.

The lanky right-hander trotted out for the seventh inning and finished off the No. 7 state-ranked Golden Falcons to complete No. 3-ranked North Lenoir's 7-4 win.

"I probably let his pitch count get too high," said North Lenoir coach Jim Montague. "I could tell he was tired because his elbow was dropping and his pitches were getting up, but he did a good job."

Sowers limited the Aycock batters to six hits and four runs over seven innings while walking two and striking out five to improve to 3-0 this season.

"I thought we swung the bats pretty good against one of the best pitchers in the state," said Aycock coach Charles Davis. "That's one the better pitchers we're going to face all year long."

Sowers quickly helped his own cause in the first inning when he sent a 3-2 Brandon Price pitch over the center-field fence for a home run and a 1-0 Hawks' lead.

The Golden Falcons battled right back in the bottom of the inning when Connor Narron doubled home Will Edgerton to tie the game.

Sowers and Price both kept their opponents' bats in check until the top of the fourth inning.

Bryce Grady and Andrew Manning were both drilled by Price pitches to begin the inning.

With one out, catcher Tyler Smith smacked a three-run homer to give the Hawks a 4-1 advantage.

"Tyler's been struggling with the bat," said Montague. "He even had his mom out a couple of times last week at six in the morning doing soft toss to him in the batting cage. He's been working and wants to get better.

"That had to boost his confidence to get the home run and the base hit after that."

Just like in the first inning, however, Aycock answered North Lenoir's big inning.

The Golden Falcons would score three runs in the bottom half of the inning, despite not hitting the ball out of the infield.

"We had a mental breakdown when they tied the game," said Montague. "We got five ground balls to our infield, yet we had to work hard to just get one out. I was really disappointed in that."

Undaunted by what had just transpired, North Lenoir went back to work in the top of the fifth when it would push home three more runs thanks to a big two-run single by George Walters and a ground-ruled double by Josh Bass that plated another run, giving the Hawks a 7-4 lead.

"I think the most pleasing thing with us is that we got 11 hits tonight," said Montague.

Price would take the loss for the Golden Falcons by allowing six runs on seven hits. He also walked one and struck out one.

"Price got a few pitches up and in our little ballpark and with the wind blowing out those (long hits) are going to happen," said Davis.

Sowers finished off the Golden Falcons over the next three innings, holding them to just two hits and no runs the rest of the way.

"I had right decent location of all my pitches tonight," said Sowers. "All my pitches were working. My change-up was dominant and I was able to get batters out by getting a lot of ground balls and weak hits."

Zack Wright and Narron both contributed a hit and an RBI to lead the way for Aycock (5-2).

For North Lenoir (7-1), Smith finished 2-for-4 with his three-run homer while Grady added three hits including a double. Sowers finished 1-for-3 with a home run.

"I was pumped about this game since Aycock's a very good ball team," Sowers said. "I just wanted to come out with a big win over these guys and I felt like if anyone could do it -- I could do it. I have a lot of confidence in myself."

North Lenoir 100 330 0 -- 7 11 1

C.B. Aycock 100 300 0 -- 4 6 1

Leading Hitters -- North Lenoir -- Bryce Grady 3-3, 2B, 2 R; Tyler Smith 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; George Walters 2-4, 2 RBI; Josh Bass 1-3, 2B, RBI; Sthil Sowers 1-3, HR. C.B. Aycock -- Connor Narron 1-3, 2B, RBI; Zack Wright 1-3, RBI.

DP -- North Lenoir 1, C.B. Aycock 1. LOB -- North Lenoir 7, C.B. Aycock 5. S -- Croom. CS -- Narron.


North Lenoir

Sowers (W, 3-0) 7 6 4 4 2 5

C.B. Aycock

Price (L) 41/3 7 6 6 1 1

Harmon 2/3 2 1 1 0 1

Rose 2 2 0 0 0 2

WP -- Sowers 2. PB -- Edgerton.