04/17/09 — Sanders shuts down Rosewood

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Sanders shuts down Rosewood

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 17, 2009 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Good pitching beat good pitching.

But North Johnston's Kyle Sanders got the run support.

Charles Pipkin cranked two extra-base hits and delivered an RBI as the Panthers turned back Rosewood 3-0 on opening night of the 2009 Deacon Jones Invitational at Princeton High School. North Johnston (10-1 overall) opposes Spring Creek in the title contest at 7 p.m. today.

Rosewood (9-4) faces archrival Princeton for third place at 4 p.m.

Sanders dined on the outside corners of the plate all evening and feasted with 11 strikeouts in a complete-game effort. The senior right-hander permitted three hits and retired 10 of 11 batters during one stretch.

"(Sanders) threw a good game and kept us off balance all night," said Rosewood coach Jason King. "He does a good job of changing speeds and we didn't make very good adjustments at the plate. I told them some nights just aren't your night at the plate and tonight wasn't our night."

The three-time defending Invitational champions, the Eagles lost a tournament game for the first time in seven tries since 2006.

Sanders allowed four baserunners in the first three innings and five overall. Rosewood batted 0-for-7 with three runners in scoring position and had a fourth runner picked off at third base in the third inning.

"Huge ... a pivotal point (in the game) right there," said King. "A passed ball, sac fly ... anything scores him and takes that goose egg off the board. As a player and as a coach when that goose egg is off the board, the whole mentality changes a little bit.

"We just made a costly base-running mistake."

Pipkin singled, doubled and tripled against Eagle right-hander Matt Neal, who scattered five hits in a complete-game effort. Neal retired eight Panthers on strikeouts and yielded one walk in his six-inning stint.

Pipkin supplied a first-inning, RBI double to give North Johnston a 1-0 lead. Chris Johnson, who reached on a second-inning error, trotted home on a wild pitch. Pipkin crushed a lead-off double in the sixth inning and scored on Sanders' two-strike single to left center field for the 3-0 finale.

Neal threw 81 pitches and first-pitch strikes to 13 of 24 batters he faced.

"Matt is a gamer and is going to throw the ball well just about every time he goes to the mound," said King. "If you don't get any run support, that makes it much tougher on a pitcher. We're certainly pleased with the way Matt threw tonight.

"We just thought we were going to have a better night at the plate than we did."