03/28/07 — Carolina 1-A opener: Rosewood edges A-G in 8 innings

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Carolina 1-A opener: Rosewood edges A-G in 8 innings

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on March 28, 2007 1:48 PM

With a back-and-forth game full of blood and bruises, it was easy to see why Rosewood coach Josh Smith called his team's game Tuesday against Ayden-Grifton a battle.

It only made sense then that the two teams would need extra innings to settle the duel.

A clutch two-out, RBI double by Goss Kendall brought home Holt Rains with the winning run in the eighth inning, giving the Eagles a 4-3 walk-off victory on Tuesday night at "The Nest" in Rosewood.

"We've had great games with Ayden-Grifton for the past three years and know every time we step on the field it's going to be a battle," said Smith. "Tonight, both teams battled. There were times where we were up and times we were down."

Long before Kendall's heroics, Rosewood had taken a 1-0 first-inning lead thanks to a lead-off double by Robert Franks and a sacrifice fly by David Smeltzer.

In the top of the second, a scary scene took place.

An errant fastball from Eagles' pitcher Taylor Allen hit Ayden-Grifton hitter Brandon Long in the nose. The game was delayed for around 20 minutes while Long received medical attention in the dugout.

To Allen's credit, when play finally did resume, the right-hander showed no ill effects from the delay as he would retire five of the next six batters he faced.

"Anytime you hit two batters, and especially after a long delay, there's the capability of getting cold and losing your composure," said Smith. "He stayed strong, hit his spots and did everything we asked from him. It was a tremendous effort on his part."

The Chargers were able to tie the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning via a hit by Corey Williams and a subsequent error by left fielder Chris Hare. They then took the lead in the fifth on a RBI single by opposing pitcher Bailey Eakes.

In addition to pitching 72/3 strong innings and taking a line-drive off his knee, Eakes would finish the night a perfect 4-for-4.

Rosewood battled right back in the bottom of the fifth when Hare led off with a double and scored on a ground out by Matt Neal. A long double by Smeltzer then scored Franks, who had reach on an error, to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead.

Allen, who hadn't pitched since March 16 when he allowed eight runs to Wayne Country Day, gave up a home run to Justin Johnson to tie the game, but then retired the next three hitters -- two by strikeout -- to keep the game tied.

Allen finished the outing by going six innings and giving up two earned runs on five hits, walked two and struck out six.

"Taylor did an outstanding job," said Smith. "I told him before the game that this is his team and we're expecting big things from him and he stepped up to the plate."

Cody Richards (1-1) relieved Allen and threw two scoreless innings while allowing just one hit.

Both teams had opportunities to win the game before extra innings, but failed to get the big hit.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Rosewood would get that hit.

After Holt Rains had started the inning with a single and stole second, Kendall came to the plate with two outs.

Kendall smacked a 1-1 pitch from Eakes down the left-field line to score Rains and give the Eagles a big first conference win.

"I was just trying to put the ball in the outfield so we could have a chance to score the guy from second," Kendall said. "I just wanted to come through as a senior and do my job. I didn't do too good at the plate tonight, so to come through at the end was really exciting."

Rosewood was led by Smeltzer who went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and by Franks who had two doubles and scored two key runs.

"Franks is hot right now," said Smith. "He's the engine that gets everything started for us and he had a great game again tonight."

The win gets the Eagles off to a good start in conference play as they improve to 6-2 (1-0) and will next travel to North Johnston on Friday.

"We never put our heads down tonight," Smith said. "We rallied when we needed to rally.

"It was just a great win for us and our program."

Ayden-Grifton 000 111 00 -- 3 6 1

Rosewood 100 020 01 -- 4 9 2

(two outs when the winning run scored)

Leading Hitters -- Ayden-Grifton -- Bailey Eakes 4-4, RBI; Justin Johnson 1-4, HR, RBI. Rosewood -- Robert Franks 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R; David Smeltzer 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Goss Kendall 1-3, 2B, RBI; Taylor Allen 1-4, 2B; Chris Hare 1-3, 2B, R.

LOB -- Ayden-Grifton 6 , Rosewood 6. SB -- Rains, Barbour. CS -- Barbour. SF -- Smeltzer.



Eakes (L) 72/3 9 4 4 0 7


Allen 6 5 3 2 2 6

Richards (W, 1-1) 2 1 0 0 0 2

WP -- Eakes, Allen 2. PB -- Smeltzer. HBP -- by Eakes (Kendall), by Allen (Pait, Long).