04/03/08 — Seventh inning heroics propel Falcons

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Seventh inning heroics propel Falcons

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 3, 2008 1:50 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Stephen Strouse delivered the game-winning single in the seventh inning as Charles B. Aycock escaped Southern Wayne 4-3 on Wednesday evening.

For six-plus innings, the Saints seemed destined for their fourth Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference win of the season. But the Golden Falcons staged a dramatic, one-out rally.

Down 3-1, Tyler Ruffin connected on a one-out double. Shortstop Connor Narron stepped into the box, worked through a lengthy at-bat and slapped a two-strike changeup over the center field fence.

The homer chased Southern Wayne starter Michael Douglas off the mound.

"Douglas did a good job most of the night, and had got some big outs earlier in the game with that pitch," said Saints head coach Trae McKee. "We just got a pitch up a little bit and he got a good piece of it."

Tyler Edwards relieved Ruffin.

The emotionally-charged Golden Falcons (9-4 overall, 4-1 ECC) refused to give up their final at-bat in regulation. Jordan Carr greeted Edwards with a single and advanced to second when the Saints outfield misplayed the ball.

Edwards intentionally walked catcher Zach Wright and coerced a routine infield pop-up one batter later. Down to the final out, Strouse -- 0-for-2 on the night -- laced the game-winning single into left field.

"We had a couple guys come through in the clutch tonight. Connor obviously with the tying home run, but also Stephen Strouse with his base hit," said Aycock head coach Charles Davis. "Stephen played behind a very good second baseman last season, and this year he has done everything we have asked with the glove.

"I thought he went to the plate confident there at the end, and did a good job."

The Golden Falcons finished with nine hits.

"I thought our guys did a good job in the field and at the plate," said Davis. "We had some good at-bats in the first six innings that Southern Wayne made really good plays on defensively. I wasn't pleased with the way we handled a couple of situations in the first and second innings.

"Both times we had men in scoring position and failed to get anything out of it."

Jesse Randolph earned the complete-game win for Aycock. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits and recorded five strikeouts. The Saints (8-5, 3-2) plated three third-inning runs, but Randolph held the county rivals scoreless the rest of the game.

"You have to give a lot of credit to coach McKee and the job he is doing over there," said Davis. "We knew that they were going to battle until the final out, and they certainly did that tonight."