Gators complete sweep of Eagles
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 20, 2011 1:47 PM
Spring Creek is still in the hunt.
And at this time of year, that's about all any team can ask for.
Will Janning's third-inning grand slam gave the Gators the lead for good in an 8-6 win at Carolina 1-A Conference foe Rosewood on Tuesday night. The win kept Spring Creek tied with North Duplin for second place in the conference.
Cody Harris' two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning put the Eagles in front 2-0. Janning's RBI single in the top of the second pulled the Gators to within 2-1.
Jonathan Franks' solo homer in the home half of the second pushed the Rosewood lead to 3-1.
Zack Harrell hit a solo home run to left field in the top of the third inning. Five batters later, Janning's bases-clearing shot to center field gave Spring Creek a 6-3 advantage.
"Anything in the air to left field or center field was just carrying like crazy," said Gators' head coach Heath Whitfield. "Will did a super job with two strikes on him of fighting and he hit one out. That was huge and it really got our momentum turned around and got us back in the right direction."
Ian Speight belted a solo home run, the fifth homer of the game, in the Eagles' half of the third inning to trim the deficit to 6-4. Will Winslow later scored on a Spring Creek error. Rosewood had an opportunity to either tie or take the lead, but stranded runners on first and second base.
Chris Nichols' infield single in the top of the sixth inning scored Duane Gurganus. Ricky Brayboy trotted home after Eagles' second baseman Matt Shaw's throw to the plate hit relief pitcher Reed Howell in the leg.
Rosewood picked up a run on John Winslow's RBI groundout in the top of the seventh. The Eagles left runners on first and third base in the fifth inning, and stranded a runner at third in each of the final two innings.
"We had some chances at the plate," said Rosewood head coach Jason King. "Our two-strike approach wasn't very good tonight. We were swinging at pitches out of the zone and give credit to their pitchers for hitting their spots."
Gurganus picked up the win on the mound. Corey Howell collected the save with four innings of one-run relief.
"Corey did a great job," said Whitfield. "He came in and just sort of settled everything down and kept the ball down. This win was huge. We're still in it now. If we lose tonight we probably don't have a chance. We're still in it and we've still got a chance. We're still fighting and that's all you can ask for."
The Gators (10-8 overall, 6-2 CC) and Eagles (6-12, 3-5) meet again Thursday in the Deacon Jones Invitational at Princeton High School. First pitch is 4 p.m.