Rivals stage 11-inning classic on Rosewood diamond
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 10, 2009 2:00 AM
Will Beasley hardly wasted time during his sixth plate appearance Friday evening on the Rosewood High baseball diamond.
A utility player, Beasley wanted to erase getting caught in an eighth-inning rundown and hitting into an inning-ending, bases-loaded groundout in the ninth.
Before Princeton's defense could settle, Beasley stroked a first-pitch, walk-off single down the third-base line to give the Eagles a 6-5, 11-inning victory over the Dawgs. Rosewood (13-6 overall) moved into a first-place tie with North Johnston at 7-2 in the Carolina 1-A Conference standings.
"This is not an individual sport, but it's a team sport with a lot of individual acts and everybody contributed and played hard ... and I'm talking about both sides (tonight)," said Princeton coach Bruce Proctor. "(Both teams) played baseball like you ought to play it with grit, determination and passion."
And this one was a classic.
The teams combined to turn four double plays in the 3-hour, 2-minute affair and five different pitchers saw action on the mound. Right-hander Cody Richards, one of three Rosewood seniors, threw six superb innings of one-hit, six-strikeout relief to earn the pitching victory.
Princeton second baseman Adam Peedin made a highlight-reel catch, falling backwards to rob Trevor Cox of a game-winning hit in the eighth inning.
"What a play by Adam," said Proctor.
Rosewood stranded seven runners, including five in scoring position, in three consecutive innings before Beasley decided the outcome in the 11th.
"They had some momentum killers and we had some momentum killers," said Eagles head coach Jason King. "It was the kind of game that keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes it fun to be part of.
"We made some key mistakes ... missed a few signals and left so many men on base. It was exciting that we stayed in it and they stayed in it. It was a good game, no doubt about it."
The Eagles claimed a 3-0 lead after 1 1/2 innings on Steven Bostic's RBI single, Richards' RBI fielder's choice and Scott Pate's solo home run. Pate cranked the first round-tripper of his varsity career and just the fourth for Rosewood this season.
"That was big for Scott," said King.
Princeton answered with a five-run rally in the middle innings.
Ryan Daughtry, Peedin, Phillip Mitchell and Matt Leverette each supplied a run-scoring single during that stretch. Austin Hinton added an RBI sacrifice bunt.
Rosewood knotted the contest with a two-run sixth inning. Jonathan Franks delivered a two-out, RBI single and scored on a wild pitch for the 5-5 tie.
The Eagles drew three intentional walks in the seventh and ninth innings combined, but couldn't push a run across with the bases loaded. Beasley's base-running error proved costly in the eighth.
Richards received an intentional walk in the 11th inning to load the sacks again. Beasley followed moments later with his redeeming base hit off Hinton, the third Princeton pitcher to see action in the game.
"There are certain kids in the lineup that you don't want to beat you," said Proctor of walking Richards. "I don't consider it rolling the dice. That hit (by Beasley) doesn't bother me a bit because it's going to score that guy from second anyway.
"This one is over ... water under the bridge and we'll move on."
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