04/16/09 — Deacon Jones tournament has familiar feel

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Deacon Jones tournament has familiar feel

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 16, 2009 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- This year's Deacon Jones Invitational at Princeton High School will have a familiar feel for the four teams involved.

They know each other all too well.

The Carolina 1-A Conference foes will lace up their cleats for the annual brawl which begins today at the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex. The Dawgs face Spring Creek at 4 p.m.

Rosewood and North Johnston clash at 7 p.m.

"We are definitely going to beat up on each other," said first-year Rosewood head coach Jason King. "It's a good field of teams, and if we want to win it we will have to play back-to-back good games."

The three-time defending tournament champions, the Eagles (9-3 overall) will have an extra large bullseye on their collective back.

And archrival Princeton, the runner-up each of the last two Invitationals, would love to end its biggest rival's tournament run.

"We joked about the name of the tournament eventually becoming the Rosewood Invitational," said Bulldawgs head coach Bruce Proctor. "We would love to get a win for our seniors and as a confidence builder for the rest of the season."

Before they can worry about a possible rematch with Rosewood, the Dawgs (6-9) must take care of Spring Creek (7-6).

"I am really looking forward to the first game just so we can get back to playing baseball," said Proctor. "We had a nice break and the kids enjoyed the prom, but I am ready to get back on the field."

Seeing a pair of conference opponents and having to play on consecutive days would raise concerns within the pitching ranks for most coaches, but not Proctor.

"We have 17 guys on our roster and seven of those are available to throw," said Proctor. "Depth is one of this team's strengths so we don't feel like playing two days in a row is a disadvantage."

A veteran of several Deacon Jones Invitationals, Proctor expects this year's four-team field to provide the exciting moments that area baseball fans have become accustomed to seeing in recent seasons.

"We are in a win-win situation as the tournament host," said Proctor. "We get a field full of well-coached teams that will draw good crowds. I honestly think this year's games will be as good as ever."