Princeton captures 1-A state title
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on June 3, 2007 2:01 AM
ZEBULON -- Ryan Daughtry wasn't used to starting.
Pitching in relief and closing games had been the right-handers' forte. That was until Princeton coach Bruce Proctor gave him the starting nod in the biggest game of his high school career.
Daughtry didn't let his coach, teammates or fans down.
The junior threw six strong innings to pick up his second win of the weekend to help Princeton claim its third N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A state baseball championship at Five County Stadium on Saturday.
The Bulldogs defeated East Surry in game three 7-3 to win the best-of-three series 2-1 and bring home just the third state title in the program's history.
"I'm just so proud of these kids," said an elated Proctor. "These kids aren't afraid of praying in front of people, not just to play well, but just to have the opportunity to play. I can't say enough about them."
The weekend series began with another 7-3 Princeton win on Friday night. Daughtry picked up the win in relief of Colin Parker who had an excellent start as he allowed two earned runs and struck out 10 in 4 2/3 innings. Daughtry also began his hot hitting in the three-game set with two hits, an RBI and two stolen bases.
With a state championship in its sights, Princeton gave the ball to Dustin Pate in game two. Pate got roughed up as he allowed three first-inning runs and didn't make it out of the second inning.
Pate then nearly redeemed himself as he single-handedly brought Princeton back into the game.
Trailing 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Pate hit a mammoth two-run homer that hit off the top of the Carolina Mudcats' giant scoreboard. He then singled home another run in the sixth inning to cut the East Surry lead to 4-3.
Princeton though, couldn't complete the comeback, meaning a decisive third game.
Game three began the best way possible for the Bulldogs -- with a lead.
Princeton struck for a two-out run in the first inning when courtesy runner Drew Whaley scampered home on a Joe Joyce wild pitch.
Daughtry then took the mound but struggled in his first two innings as he allowed four base runners. He was able to minimize the damage and hold East Surry to one run.
Princeton would break the tie in the third inning.
Michael Radford got things started with a double. Daughtry drove him home with a one-out triple to give Princeton a lead it would never relinquish.
"They threw curve balls right to me," said Daughtry. "They're right there, you just have to hit it."
After a single by Andrew Cobb, Pate stepped up and hit a flair into right field. Neither the outfielder nor first baseman could come up with the ball and two runs came home to put the Bulldogs ahead 4-1.
In the fourth inning, Princeton built its lead to 6-1 thanks to RBIs by Daniel Gerrell and Daughtry. Daughtry added his third RBI of the game on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
In the championship series, Daughtry finished 4-for-9 with three extra base hits and four RBI to capture Most Valuable Player honors.
"Ryan put the game on his back," said Proctor. "Pitching wise and swinging the bat all weekend long. He's a very deserving MVP."
After the first two rocky innings, Daughtry settled down and got into a groove. He kept East Surry off the board until fatigue began to set in during the bottom of the seventh inning.
Two hits and a walk loaded the bases for East Surry and brought Proctor from the dugout to take our his hurler.
"Ryan did a fantastic job," said Proctor. "I really didn't want to go to Colin, but we trust him enough to do it. He came in and did a great job."
Parker allowed a sacrifice fly that scored Ben Gibson before retiring the final two batters of the game on a strikeout and pop out that was fittingly caught by Daughtry.
"I came in after a great guy on Friday and today, he comes in and finishes up for me," said Daughtry. "There was no better way to finish it."
East Surry 000 030 0 -- 3 8 4
Princeton 102 004 x -- 7 8 1
Leading Hitters -- East Surry -- Ben Gibson 1-2, 2B. Princeton -- Ryan Daughtry 2-3, RBI; Colin Parker 2-4, RBI; Andrew Cobb 1-3, 3B, RBI; Dustin Pate 1-2, RBI; Michael Radford 1-4, RBI.
DP -- Princeton 1. LOB -- East Surry 11. Princeton 4. SB -- Daughtry 2.
IP H R ER BB SO
Bullington (L, 6-4) 6 8 7 2 1 4
Parker 4 2/3 7 3 2 3 10
Daughtry (W, 5-1) 2 1/3 1 0 0 3 3
WP -- Bullington 2. HBP -- by Bullington (Gerrell), by Daughtry (Durham).
Princeton 000 201 0 -- 3 8 3
East Surry 300 010 x -- 4 4 0
Leading Hitters -- Princeton -- Dustin Pate 2-3, HR, 3 RBI; Andrew Cobb 1-2, 3B; Ryan Daughtry 1-3, 3B; Daniel Gerrell 1-3, 2B. East Surry -- Anthony Durham 2-2, 2B; Troy Jessup 1-3, 2B, RBI; Jeremy Miller 1-3, 2B.
DP -- East Surry 1. LOB -- Princeton 7, East Surry 11. S -- Parker, Smith. CS -- Joyce.
IP H R ER BB SO
Pate (L, 1-2) 1 2 3 3 4 1
Hinton 5 2 1 1 2 3
Jessup (W, 12-1) 7 8 3 3 1 6
Pate pitched to two batters in the second.
WP -- Pate 3, Jessup. HBP -- by Hinton (Bullington, Smith), by Jessup (Parker). Balk -- Jessup.
Princeton 103 201 0 -- 7 10 0
East Surry 010 010 1 -- 3 7 2
Leading Hitters -- Princeton -- Dustin Pate 2-4, 2 RBI; Adam Nethercutt 2-4; Daniel Gerrell 2-3, 2B, RBI; Ryan Daughtry 1-2, 3B, 3 RBI; Michael Radford 1-4, 2B; Jared McLamb 1-2. East Surry -- Jeremy Miller 2-4; Jonathan Bullington 1-2, 2 RBI; Joe Joyce 1-2, 3B; Troy Jessup 1-4, 2B.
DP -- Princeton 1, East Surry 1. LOB -- Princeton 10, East Surry 9. SB -- Daughtry. S -- Hartley. SF -- Daughtry, Bullington.
IP H R ER BB SO
Daughtry (W, 6-1) 6 7 3 3 5 7
Parker 1 0 0 0 0 1
Joyce (L,5-5) 4 6 6 6 4 2
Jessup 3 4 1 1 1 1
Daughtry pitched to three batters in the seventh.
WP -- Daughtry, Joyce, Jessup. PB -- Smith. HBP -- by Daughtry (Bullington), by Joyce (Radford, Daughtry).
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