06/11/09 — Aycock tops Rocky Mount in Junior Legion

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Aycock tops Rocky Mount in Junior Legion

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 11, 2009 1:50 PM

PIKEVILLE -- A rare defensive play and Tyler Farmer's late-inning insurance hit proved beneficial for the Charles B. Aycock Junior Legion baseball team Wednesday evening.

Aycock third baseman Tyler Ruffin almost single-handedly turned a first-inning triple play and Farmer's two-RBI double provided much-needed breathing room in a 6-2 victory over conference foe Rocky Mount.

"That triple play was very big," said Aycock head coach Nelson Cunningham.

Rocky Mount (2-2 overall) loaded the bases during its first at-bat. Michael Whitehead, who batted 4-for-4, smacked a lead-off double and moved into scoring position when pitcher Benton Moss reached on an error.

Aycock left-hander Bryant Stafford walked Matthew Berry to load the bases and Ruffin came through with a clutch play against the next batter. Thomas Barclay hit a low liner that Ruffin caught inches above the grass and he hustled back to tag third for the second out.

Cunningham shouted "throw to first" and Ruffin fired a bullet to Jordan Quinn, who stretched for the ball to complete the defensive gem.

"Any time you turn a triple play, you're going to get a little bit of energy," said Cunningham, a Legion baseball and Aycock alum. "When you get it with the bases loaded and no outs, and your pitcher is struggling in the first inning, that pumped us up."

Aycock answered with two runs during its first-inning at-bat.

Tyler Farmer walked and beat the throw to second base on Collin DuBose's fielder's choice bunt. One out later, Farmer trotted home on Nick McGee's single.

Matt Radford, McGee's courtesy runner, scampered home on Quinn's RBI groundout.

"Those were big runs ... needed to get on top at the beginning," said Cunningham.

Aycock (8-2) built a 4-0 advantage on Farmer's second-inning, two-RBI double. Moss settled down from that point and didn't surrender another hit until Taylor's two-out double in the fifth.

A right-hander, Moss retired eight of nine batters during one stretch and finished with a seven-hitter. He logged six strikeouts, walked three and permitted six runs (five earned).

"Moss got better as the game went on," said Cunningham.

Rocky Mount pulled within 4-2 on Whitehead's solo home run and Barclay's RBI single. Stafford scattered five hits in a six-inning stint and picked off a runner in the fifth to keep the visitors from tightening the game.

Farmer's two-out, one-strike double gave reliever Collin DuBose a working margin in relief of Stafford. The right-hander threw a scoreless seventh and picked off one runner as Aycock evened its conference record at 1-1.

"We scratched those last two and that was key going into the last inning so we could get somebody else in there for Stafford, who didn't have his best stuff and had a bad ankle," said Cunningham.

Aycock returns to action Monday at county rival Eastern Wayne. First pitch is 7 p.m. at New Hope.