05/20/09 — Uncharacteristic errors hurt Rams

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Uncharacteristic errors hurt Rams

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 20, 2009 1:47 PM

SNOW HILL -- A reliable defense anchored Greene Central's vessel all season.

The anchor gave way Tuesday evening and the Rams' ship sank in an 8-3, second-round loss to Hillsborough Orange in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2-A baseball playoffs.

Greene Central committed an uncharacteristic six errors that led to three unearned runs and allowed the Panthers to piece together big innings.

"Our defense had been our strong point all year," said Rams head coach Scott Jones. "We went down in a blaze of glory I guess. Everything we could have done wrong we did wrong."

Greene Central grabbed a 1-0 lead on Stephen McDonald's RBI double in the bottom of the first. Rob Schilke's RBI single tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the second. Cole Watkins' RBI groundout gave Orange a 2-1 advantage.

Scott Jarvis started the Panthers' half of the third inning by reaching on an error. Jarvis later scored on J.T. Pope's sacrifice fly. Joe Winecoff's RBI single stretched the margin to 4-1 and chased Rams' starting pitcher Deric Grant from the ballgame.

Watkins' double scored J.R. Ray in the top of the sixth and Jake Manulich's two-run bloop single capped Orange's scoring.

Winecoff, the Panthers' burly right-handed hurler, kept Greene Central hitters off-balance all night. He mixed speeds and worked both sides of the plate to record 12 strikeouts. Winecoff allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with five walks in 6 2/3 innings of work for the win.

"He was the toughest we've seen this year," said Jones. "That was the best we've seen all year. He was able to throw his fastball for strikes and his breaking ball for strikes. I thought once they got ahead, we kind of panicked a little bit at the plate and tried to get it all back at one time."

The Rams (16-9 overall) scratched across a pair of runs in the seventh inning on a bases loaded walk and a wild pitch but couldn't complete the comeback. Trent Murray collected two hits for Greene Central.

"Our kids, at least they didn't quit," said Jones. "In the last inning I thought we could scratch something out, but we just couldn't do it.