Errors help Princeton; Leverette limits North Duplin to five hits
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 5, 2009 2:00 AM
PRINCETON -- Veteran Princeton baseball coach Bruce Proctor doesn't expect his team to paint a Picasso each time it steps onto the diamond this season.
He'll frame any win he can get.
The Dawgs overcame careless base-running mistakes and Matt Leverette hurled a five-hit gem in an 8-2 conquest of Carolina 1-A Conference foe North Duplin. Princeton (5-6 overall) capitalized on the youth-laden Rebels' defensive miscues and scrawled out their first league victory of the season.
"I thought we pitched well, caught well and played good defense," said Proctor. "We're not where we want to be, but I feel like we're improving every night."
Leverette threw 63 strikes in a 97-pitch outing and logged 10 strikeouts. The right-hander mixed pitches well, changed speeds and kept North Duplin's batters guessing at the plate.
The Rebels put runners on base in five of six innings against Leverette, but scratched out only one run on Konner Brock's fourth-inning RBI single. Princeton reliever Steven Wilson yielded a seventh-inning run on two infield errors.
"Matt had command ... threw strikes and looked like the Matt Leverette we want him to be," said Proctor. "He wasn't overpowering. He did a good job of just pitching ... hitting his spots."
Princeton touched North Duplin hurler Shayne Deaver for seven runs (two earned) on five hits in three-plus innings. The Dawgs had ample chances of inducing the 10-run mercy rule, but couldn't push runners across.
Proctor's squad left just six runners on base -- all in scoring position.
"I thought we had a really good approach most of the time (at the plate), but when you get the bases loaded with no outs, we've got to put runs on the board somehow, some way," said Proctor.
North Duplin (3-9, 0-2 CC) turned rally-killing double plays in the fourth and fifth innings. Shortstop James Kornegay factored into both defensive plays and Princeton also fell victim to base-running mistakes.
Rebels catcher Marcus Kornegay also gunned down two Dawgs on stolen-base attempts at second base.
"James helped us get out of the big inning," said North Duplin head coach Joey Keefe. "We have had a bad habit of not competing once we give up a couple of runs and our heads start hanging a little bit. But I felt like we stayed in it and never gave up (tonight)."
Center fielder Dillon Daughtry paced Princeton's offense with three hits, including a first-inning RBI single. First baseman Randy Deaver supplied a two-RBI single during a third-inning, five-run uprising that eventually chased the Rebels' Deaver from the mound.
Sean Carpenter doubled in a 2-for-3, two-RBI effort. Overall, seven of nine Princeton starters contributed at least one hit in the game.
Shayne Deaver and Brock combined for three of the Rebels' six hits.
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