Sasser, Davis shut down Saints
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 4, 2007 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Superb pitching and great defensive plays kept blanket-covered fans on edge for five innings on an unseasonably cool Thursday evening at Charles B. Aycock.
The sixth inning, however, turned a little chillier for the Southern Wayne faithful during the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament semifinal.
Connor Narron's two-run triple spearheaded a three-run outburst as the Golden Falcons pulled away for a 4-0 victory. C.B. Aycock, ranked No. 2 in the latest ImpactBaseball.com poll, advances to Monday's title game against county foe Eastern Wayne.
"We won't expecting a pushover," said Aycock head coach Charles Davis. "We need these type of ball games like we got tonight."
The Golden Falcons (22-3 overall) triumphed for the fourth consecutive time against the Saints, and fifth overall in their last six meetings. Left-handed senior Grant Sasser yielded one hit and struck out six in a five-inning stint.
Right-hander Garrett Davis tossed a perfect sixth and seventh inning in relief, and collected his second save of the season.
"Grant threw the ball really well for them and so did Garrett," said Saints head coach Trae McKee. "Base runners are going to be minimal when they're on their game, and they're tough."
Sasser (7-0) surrendered a second-inning walk and lost his no-hit bid when Garrett Barfield singled in the fourth. Barfield was erased when Golden Falcon catcher Zach Wright caught him on a stolen-base attempt.
"We tried to generate some offense ... a hit-and-run," said McKee. "We just didn't get it done. We tried to move some guys and I'll take the blame for that."
Sasser and Davis combined to retire the final 10 batters they faced. The duo induced eight ground-ball outs, two flyouts to right fielder Will Edgerton and a game-ending pop-up to Narron at shortstop.
The Saints struck out nine times.
"We got great pitching from Grant. We got great pitching from Garrett those two innings," said coach Davis. "Grant looked as sharp as he has all year and I was tickled to death to see that. I thought we played solid defense all around."
Meanwhile, Saints right-hander Sterling Grice (3-5) dodged a potentially disastrous first inning and benefited from an inning-ending double play in the second. He threw a four-pitch third inning and retired six of seven batters at one point.
"One key was we left runners on base (early) in certain situations, but a lot of times I don't think we give pitchers enough credit," said Davis. "Grice made some good pitches in key situations. I thought he looked better tonight than the first two times we saw him.
"He sat out there and battled."
C.B. Aycock finally scratched in the fourth. Garrett Davis stretched a double in the left center-field gap into a triple. The senior trotted home for the game-winning run on Joseph Toler's sacrifice fly to right field.
Grice profited from two stout defensive plays in the fifth by third baseman Byron Powell and shortstop Dave Overman. The Saints (12-13 overall) couldn't repeat the effort in the sixth.
Toler and Jay Rose (2-for-3) connected on back-to-back singles. Both scored on Narron's triple to right center field. Narron scampered home on Thomas Pilkington's one-strike double down the third-base line.
"Grice may have gotten a little bit tired, I don't know," said coach Davis. "We may have made a few adjustments at the plate. We hit the ball on the nose and did some (good) things."
The Golden Falcons earned their first shutout against an ECC opponent this season. The pitching staff has given up just two runs in its last three conference outings -- a span of 21 innings.
"It's always good to see you playing like this at this time of the year," said Davis.
So. Wayne 000 000 0 -- 0 1 2
C.B. Aycock 000 103 x -- 4 7 0
Leading hitters -- Southern Wayne -- Garrett Barfield 1-3. C.B. Aycock -- Garrett Davis 1-1, 3B; Joseph Toler 1-2, RBI; Jay Rose 2-3; Connor Narron 1-2, 3B, 2 RBI; Thomas Pilkington 1-3, 2B, RBI; Bradley Taylor 1-4, 2B.
DP -- Southern Wayne 1. LOB -- Southern Wayne 1, C.B. Aycock 7. CS -- Barfield. SH -- Edgerton. SF -- Toler.
IP H R ER BB SO
Grice (L, 3-5) 6 7 4 4 4 3
Sasser (W, 7-0) 5 1 0 0 1 6
Davis (S, 2) 2 0 0 0 0 3
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