05/06/11 — N. Lenoir stops Aycock

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N. Lenoir stops Aycock

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 6, 2011 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Throw seedings and records out the window.

On Thursday night, North Lenoir looked like it belongs in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference baseball tournament finals.

The fourth-seeded Hawks belted three home runs and John Delaney pitched five strong innings in an 8-5 win at top-seeded Charles B. Aycock. North Lenoir is the guest of second-seeded Eastern Wayne on Monday in the ECC championship contest.

Grayson Phillips' three-run home run to center field in the top of the third inning gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead.

"It helped that we didn't give up runs in the first and second inning," said North Lenoir head coach Jim Montague. "The last three ballgames our offense has come back, somewhat. Our offense definitely helped us win this ball game tonight. We're not a great ballclub, but we've got to play like we are."

Adam Pate's RBI double in the bottom of the third inning pulled Aycock to within 3-1.

Delaney's solo home run to center field in the top of the fifth inning increased the lead to 4-1. Spencer Bass tacked on an RBI single. Brian Hardy added a three-run home run to center field as the lead swelled to 8-1. Phillips and Hardy both finished with two hits and three RBI.

Delaney retired the first eight batters he faced on ground-ball outs. The senior right-hander allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits with one strikeout and no walks to earn the win on the mound.

"That's the longest John has pitched all year," said Montague. "He kept the ball down and got ground ball outs. My hat is off to him. That's a great job by John."

Travis Musselman drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth to trim the margin to 8-2. Mick Walker's RBI groundout and a wild pitch that scored a run cut the deficit to 8-4. Jon Taylor, Tyler Farmer and Justin Barbour each had two hits for the Golden Falcons.

Aycock (17-6) is off until hosting an opponent to be determined on May 13 in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A state playoffs.

"Twice this year we've been in situations where we did not have to win and we did not come out and play very well," said Golden Falcons' head coach Charles Davis. "I did not think we had a very good week of practice this week. You can't turn the light switch on and off. Now, you've got to win or you go home."

North Lenoir (16-7) split the two regular-season meetings with Eastern Wayne. The Hawks won a wild 11-inning game in New Hope earlier this season. The winner of Monday night's finals earns the No. 2 seed for the playoffs.

"It is the tournament championship," said Montague. "It is just another ballgame. Both of us are still going to the playoffs. It is big for one of us because somebody is going to get the No. 2 spot and home-field advantage in the first round. It is a big ball game."