By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 20, 2010 1:46 PM
Matt Neal pumped his fist, yelled and walked off the mound toward the dugout.
The senior right-hander worked out of a fourth-inning jam and tossed a complete game in Rosewood's 6-3 win over Red Springs in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A baseball playoffs on Tuesday night.
The Eagles entertain either N.C. School of Science and Math or South Robeson in third-round play either Friday or Saturday afternoon.
Neal scored on an error in the bottom of the first inning to give Rosewood a 1-0 lead.
Tim Ray's two-run homer to left field first in the top of the second put the Red Devils in front 2-1.
Red Springs' pitcher Sherman Sumpter held the Eagles (16-6 overall) to just five hits. Rosewood used aggressive base running to capitalize on four Red Devils' errors and two wild pitches.
Will Grantham's RBI single in the home half of the second tied the game at 2-2. Trevor Cox later scored on an error to give the Eagles a 3-2 advantage.
"We work on those things," said Rosewood head coach Jason King. "We work on reading balls in the dirt and reading balls that bounce off the catcher's chest. It puts pressure on the defense when they know you're going to be aggressive on the basepaths.
"We try to run when we can."
Red Springs put runners on first and second base with no outs in the top of the fourth inning. A flyout moved the runners to second and third with one out. Neal used back-to-back strikeouts to work out of trouble. He surrendered three runs (two earned) on seven hits with nine strikeouts and no walks.
"Matt's a gutty player," said King. "He wants the ball in his hand when the game is on the line. He's the one you want up there. We feed off of him when he's out there. He seemed to lock in after giving up the home run.
"When he finds his groove he's pretty tough to beat."
Brandon Klingenschmidt scored on an Eagles' error in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 3-3.
Will Winslow's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth gave Rosewood the lead for good. Winslow later scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 5-3.
Cox raced home on a wild pitch in the sixth inning. Taylor Price, Winslow (RBI); Will Beasley, Cox and Grantham each tallied a hit for the Eagles.
The win extended the Eagles' winning streak to 11 games. Rosewood's last loss came against Spring Creek on April 8 in the Deacon Jones Invitational.