C.B. Aycock dumps D.H. Conley
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 11, 2007 1:48 PM
KINSTON -- Brandon Price admits he's not a flashy pitcher. He doesn't overpower opponents or throw with finesse.
But boy, is he effective.
Price overcame three consecutive seventh-inning hits and sparked Charles B. Aycock to a 7-5 victory over D.H. Conley in the 2007 George Whitfield Invitational championship game Tuesday evening. The Golden Falcons, who competed in their first Easter tournament since 1998, seized their eighth straight win and improved to 13-3 overall.
D.H. Conley, the reigning Class 3-A state champion, exited 11-6.
Before the seventh inning started, Golden Falcon head coach Charles Davis briefly chatted with Price. Davis asked the senior right-hander how he felt and Price responded, "Coach, I've got it."
But Davis paced back-and-forth in the dugout when Price issued back-to-back singles and a double to the Vikings' first three batters. Aycock's defense further compounded its troubles with two costly errors which allowed D.H. Conley to pull within 7-5.
"I still had my stuff, but where they were hitting ground balls to our guys earlier (in the game), they just found the hole a couple of times (late)," said Price.
Price never wavered. He pocketed his fastball and mixed his change-up with a proficient slider from that point. The Viking batters did see an occasional fastball blended in with the off-speed pitches, but they couldn't adjust quick enough in the box.
Price posted three strikeouts and earned his first complete-game win, and third overall, in eight mound appearances this season. He scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked two.
"(The offspeed stuff) was working, so that's what I stuck with," said Price, who threw 21 first-pitch strikes to 32 hitters.
In three tournament games, Aycock received two complete-game performances and a 6 1/3-inning stint from its three starting pitchers -- Price, Garrett Davis and Grant Sasser. The trio allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in 20-plus innings and combined for 27 strikeouts.
All three grabbed a spot on the all-tournament team and received black wooden bats as their reward. Davis chuckled as he watched his pitchers swing the shiny black sticks once they broke the post-game huddle.
"This is probably one of the strongest Easter tournaments in North Carolina, at least I feel like it is," said coach Davis. "I'm not going to say we played our best ball, but as far as getting things done and the pitching performances that we had, you've got to be tickled to death with that."
"We got to play against three quality teams and came out on top."
The teams traded one-run leads during the first two innings.
C.B. Aycock erased its one-run deficit with three-run outburst in the second inning. The Golden Falcons parlayed two hits, two stolen bases, two walks and a balk into a 4-2 advantage.
Conley pulled within 4-3, but Price didn't yield anything again until the final inning. He retired 10 of 12 batters during three-plus innings and surrendered just one hit -- a fourth-inning single to Alex Griffin.
The Golden Falcons, ranked No. 9 in the ImpactBaseball.com poll, left the bases loaded in the fifth. They got another opportunity in the sixth and capitalized on four walks, two errors, a double steal and one hit.
Garrett Davis (1-for-4) delivered the big blow -- a two-out, two-RBI single as Aycock plated three unearned runs against Conley reliever Chase Hardee.
"I thought we did a very poor job defensively and we opened up too many innings," said D.H. Conley coach Jason Mills. "Too many walks opened up the door, too, and when you do that against a good team, they're going to beat you.
"We've just got to make plays in the field. Six errors -- that's inexcusable."
The Vikings stranded a runner in the sixth before coming up short in the seventh.
Bradley Taylor and Zack Wright (RBI) paced the Golden Falcons' eight-hit attack with two singles apiece. Joseph Toler batted 1-for-3, while freshman shortstop Connor Narron doubled and drove in a run. Thomas Pilkington provided a fourth-inning single, while Will Edgerton tallied the game-winning run on Davis' sixth-inning hit.
C.B. Aycock concludes a seven-game road swing Thursday at Wilson Fike. The Golden Falcons continue their Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference slate at home Tuesday against Kinston. Each game starts at 7 p.m.
C.B. Aycock 130 003 0 -- 7 8 6
D.H. Conley 201 000 2 -- 5 7 6
Leading hitters -- C.B. Aycock -- Bradley Taylor 2-3; Garrett Davis 1-4, 2 RBI; Zack Wright 2-3, RBI; Connor Narron 1-2, 2B, RBI; Thomas Pilkington 1-2. D.H. Conley -- Gray Compton 3-4, 2B; Josh Hudson 1-3, 2B; Will Reaves 1-4, 2 RBI; Alex Griffin 1-2.
DP -- D.H. Conley 1. LOB -- C.B. Aycock 10, D.H. Conley 6. SB -- Taylor 2, Davis, Toler, Narron, Reaves, Walker. CS -- Narron.
IP H R ER BB SO
Price (W, 3-1) 7 7 5 4 2 5
Boyd (L) 4 1/3 6 4 4 2 1
Hardee 2 2/3 2 3 0 5 3
WP -- Price.
T -- 2:18.
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