04/25/07 — CBA baseball claims ECC 3-A title

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CBA baseball claims ECC 3-A title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 25, 2007 1:50 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Thomas Pilkington needed three at-bats to unwrap his 18th birthday present -- a grand-slam home run covered in a bright white sphere with 108 red stitches -- on Tuesday evening.

The bases-clearing shot, Pilkington's first homer of the season, helped Charles B. Aycock defeat archrival Eastern Wayne 12-1 and repeat as the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference regular-season champion. The Golden Falcons (18-3 overall) seized the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament and the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

Pilkington, a senior third baseman, emerged the fourth Aycock player to connect on a grand slam -- the team's fifth overall -- this spring. Fellow senior Joseph Toler added a two-run dinger, his second of the year, in a decisive third-inning outburst.

Aycock has slugged 21 homers this season.

"I was pleased with the overall effort of everyone tonight," said Golden Falcons head coach Charles Davis.

Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum couldn't share the same opinion. The playoff-bound Warriors needed to upset the state-ranked Golden Falcons and force a first-place tie in the standings.

"We did not rise to the challenge tonight and we got it handed to us," said Fulghum, whose team finished 4-1 in ECC road games this season.

The Warriors claimed a 1-0 lead, but quickly lost it. Garrett Davis reached safely on an RBI fielder's choice and Jay Rose belted an RBI double to put Aycock ahead to stay 2-1.

Eastern Wayne (10-12, 6-3) loaded the bases with one out in the third inning, but returned to the dugout with nothing to show for its effort. Golden Falcon left-hander Grant Sasser coerced a flyout from John Wooten and fanned Tyler Sutton to end the inning.

"I knew Grant was going to come through, but I was scared that our defense was going to bobble the ball or something," said Rose. "Our infield came through with no errors."

Bradley Taylor and Davis set up Aycock's third-inning rally with a double and single, respectively, off Warrior right-hander John Wooten. Taylor scored on Zack Wright's sacrifice fly and Davis easily came home on Rose's second double of the game.

"He gave me a first-pitch fastball and I tried to turn on it," said Rose, who finished 2-for-3 with two RBI. "I just hit a line drive."

Toler's homer and wild pitches from reliever Anthony O'tellio accounted for the Golden Falcons' final three runs and an 8-1 advantage.

"We didn't hit the spots; didn't pitch well at all," said Fulghum. "They deserved to win tonight. That's the bottom line."

Pilkington's fourth-inning grand slam induced the 10-run mercy rule and Sasser (6-0) retired the side in the fifth for his first complete game since 2005.

Sasser tossed a four-hitter, notched six strikeouts and retired eight of the final nine batters he faced.

"I don't think he honestly got loosened up before the ball game," said coach Davis. "After the first inning, I think he was pretty dog-gone sharp and he needed that.

"There was probably something in the back of his mind about being able to finish games. He kept his pitch count down low."

E. Wayne 100 00 -- 1 4 2

C.B. Aycock 206 4x -- 12 8 0

Leading hitters -- Eastern Wayne -- Chad Gurley 1-2; John Wooten RBI. C.B. Aycock -- Jay Rose 2-3, 2 2Bs, 2 RBI; Joseph Toler 1-2, HR, 2 RBI; Thomas Pilkington 1-3, HR, 4 RBI; Bradley Taylor 1-3, 2B; Garrett Davis 1-3.

LOB -- E. Wayne 4, CBA 3. SB -- Narron. SH -- Gurley. SF -- Wright.


Eastern Wayne

Wooten (L, 3-5) 22/3 7 8 8 2 1

Otellio 1 0 3 3 3 0

Harr 1/3 1 1 1 0 0

C.B. Aycock

Sasser (W, 6-0) 5 4 1 1 1 6

WP -- Sasser, Wooten, Otellio 3. HBP -- by Wooten (Narron), by Wooten (Price).