C.B. Aycock outlasts West Craven
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 16, 2007 1:48 PM
PIKEVILLE -- West Craven nearly engineered an unbelievable comeback and almost derailed Charles B. Aycock during its journey in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A baseball playoffs Tuesday evening.
But the Golden Falcons stayed on track. Senior right-hander Brandon Price notched his second save of the season and the Golden Falcons thwarted the Eagles' upset bid 6-4 before a boisterous and standing-room-only crowd.
C.B. Aycock (25-3 overall) collected its 20th consecutive victory and continues play at home Friday against West Brunswick, which conquered defending state champion D.H. Conley 2-0.
"Surviving and advancing are what the playoffs are all about," said Aycock head coach Charles Davis. "I knew West Craven, and I tried to tell everybody who would listen, had a good, scrappy ball club. And they proved it tonight."
Senior right-hander Garrett Davis kept West Craven (12-12) off the board for five-plus innings. The Eagles couldn't connect on a timely hit and stranded three of seven runners in scoring position.
Davis (7-1) yielded two hits and notched nine strikeouts in his first postseason start, but he also walked an uncharacteristic five batters. Those free passes caught up with him in the sixth.
Two walks and Caleb Wetherington's two-strike single up the middle ignited a three-run uprising. Billy Dudding legged out an infield hit to plate two runs. A throwing error accounted for the third run and cut Aycock's advantage in half at 6-3.
"We just didn't quit ... never over until it's over and you've always got a chance because anything can happen in baseball," said West Craven coach Ryan Whitney, a Barton College alum. "They continued to battle and this game could have easily gotten out of hand.
"Fortunately, we got a couple of big innings."
Wetherington produced a two-out, RBI single in the seventh off Aycock reliever Brandon Price. After Chris Hardison's base hit dropped untouched behind the pitcher's mound, Price coerced a game-ending groundout from Logan Swindell.
Price tossed 1 2/3 innings of four-strikeout, four-hit relief.
"They put the ball in play and made their breaks happen," said coach Davis. "The great thing about it is we made some key pitches in key situations; got some key outs.
"Brandon, I guess he's got ice-cold water flowing through his veins because nothing bothers him."
Aycock grabbed a 2-0 lead in the opening inning when Dudding threw a hanging curveball to Garrett Davis, who slapped the offering high into the trees in right field. It was Davis' fifth homer of the season and part of a 4-for-4, three-RBI outing.
Dudding avoided run-scoring opportunities in the third and fourth, but couldn't fend off the Golden Falcons in the fifth. Davis, Jay Rose and Thomas Pilkington drove in one run apiece for Aycock, which tallied four runs off five hits, a double steal and one walk.
Six of nine Golden Falcons managed at least one hit in the 2-hour, 24-minute affair. Senior left fielder Bradley Taylor joined Davis as the team's multiple-hit leaders with a 2-for-4 showing.
"You're always happy to win in the playoffs no matter how you do it or what it looks like," said coach Davis. "We're happy about winning, but we've still got our work to do."
West Craven 000 003 1 -- 4 7 1
C.B. Aycock 200 040 x -- 6 9 3
Leading hitters -- West Craven -- Chris Ipock 1-3, 2B; Caleb Wetherington 2-3, RBI; Billy Dudding 1-3, 2 RBI. C.B. Aycock -- Garrett Davis 3-4, HR, 3 RBI; Jay Rose 1-3, RBI; Thomas Pilkington 1-3, RBI; Bradley Taylor 2-4.
LOB -- West Craven 11, C.B. Aycock 9. SB -- Dudding, Taylor, Hill (2).
IP H R ER BB SO
Dudding (L) 4 1/3 8 6 5 1 1
Edwards 1 2/3 2 0 0 3 2
Davis (W, 7-1) 5 1/3 3 3 2 5 9
Price (S, 2) 1 2/3 4 1 1 0 4
WP -- Davis, Price. PB -- Wright
T -- 2:24.
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