04/11/10 — Confident Eagles crush Panthers for third place

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Confident Eagles crush Panthers for third place

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 11, 2010 1:50 AM

PRINCETON -- Rosewood's confidence picks up a notch whenever Matt Neal toes the pitching rubber.

Friday afternoon was no exception.

Neal threw a complete-game, four-hitter in the Eagles' 13-1 shellacking of North Johnston during the 2010 Deacon Jones Invitational at the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex.

"We have that swagger when Matt is on the mound," said second-year Rosewood coach Jason King. "The boys are confident that he is going to do well on the mound, which they should be because most of the time he is."

Neal (3-2) retired the final eight batters he faced and finished with five strikeouts in the mercy rule-shortened contest. The right-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second inning and surrendered the lone run on Matt Corbett's RBI single in the third.

Ten of the Panthers' final hitters either struck out, grounded out or flew out from the second to fifth innings.

"Matt is a really good player for us and keeps the ball in the strike zone," said King. "If you're going to be successful, you have to keep the ball in the strike zone, there's no other way around it. We also hit the ball again.

"We scored 26 runs in two games, which is good."

Rosewood (6-6 overall) cranked out 14 hits. Lead-off batter Taylor Price (2 RBI) and Neal (3 RBI) emerged the offensive leaders with three hits apiece. Will Beasley doubled and tripled in three at-bats, while designated hitter Garrett Burns went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Cody Harris, Jonathan Franks, Scott Pate and Trevor Cox each contributed one hit. Neal and Franks earned spots on the all-tournament team.

Just six of the Eagles' 13 runs were earned.

"We needed a short game ... quick game after yesterday," said King of the team's 3-hour, two-run loss to Spring Creek. "(Today) we kept on pushing. You can't ever get complacent playing a team like North Johnston, Spring Creek ... whoever it is.

"You have to keep your foot on the gas. If you don't, then bad things can happen to you."

Rosewood continues defense of its Carolina 1-A Conference championship at home Tuesday against Spring Creek. First pitch is 7 p.m.