Rebels knock off Eagles
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 13, 2008 2:02 AM
CALYPSO -- There are two sides to every coin.
On one side, Rosewood barely escaped county rival Spring Creek on Tuesday evening. On the flipside, North Duplin nearly upended perennial power Ayden-Grifton.
The Rebels avoided the letdown.
North Duplin scratched out a 7-5 decision over Rosewood and posted its first Class 1-A Carolina Conference victory in four tries this season. The loss dropped the Eagles to 2-2 in league play.
"I think tonight we came in ready to play out of the gate," said Rebels coach Joey Keefe. "We were right there with Ayden-Grifton Tuesday, and I think that set us up well for this game."
The Rebels jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Trey Beavers sacrifice. One inning later the Eagles tied the game.
North Duplin (3-7 overall) got the breaks it needed to pull ahead for good in the third inning. Billy Mello ripped a lead-off single and moved into scoring position when Doug Lloyd reached on an error.
Mello trotted home on a double steal and Beavers followed with an RBI single. Beavers capped the scoring when Buddy Grady reached on Rosewood's second defensive miscue of the inning.
"We couldn't get out of that early hole we dug for ourselves," said Rosewood coach Josh Smith. "A couple early errors gave North Duplin the lead, and you can't take anything away from them, they played a great game."
The Rebels increased their lead to 7-1 in the fourth as the double steal play worked for a second time in as many innings. Beavers again delivered the big blow, a two-RBI single with two outs.
The Eagles (7-7) battled back in the fifth and sixth innings. Taylor Allen singled and Holt Rains mashed a towering home run to right field.
In the sixth, Eric Martel was hit by a pitch, Scott Pate singled and Robert Franks reached on an error to score Martel. Pate scampered home on a wild pitch, which trimmed the Rebels' advantage to two runs.
"My guys battled all night tonight, but we could never get over that hump when we had the tying runs on base," said Smith.
North Duplin starter Brad Rhodes' night came to an end when Rosewood pulled within two runs. Lloyd took over in the closer role and worked himself into and out of a seventh-inning jam.
The Rebels' emotional leader walked a pair of Rosewood batters in the inning, but escaped without any damage being done on the scoreboard.
"We were looking to get four innings out of Brad, and the fact that he went extra is a bonus," said Keefe. "Once we saw that Brad was going to make it almost to the end, then Doug was the obvious choice to close it out."
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