05/24/11 — Aycock Junior Legion

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Aycock Junior Legion

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 24, 2011 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock couldn't get the timely hit.

Kinston Post 43 finally won a one-run ballgame.

With the game-tying and game-winning runs on first and second base, respectively, reliever CJ Bradshaw induced a game-ending groundout and preserved Kinston's come-from-behind, 6-5 victory on the Junior American Legion baseball scene Monday evening.

Aycock suffered its first defeat in three outings this season after claiming two mercy-rule wins on Saturday afternoon. Kinston (1-2 overall) ended its two-game skid of consecutive one-run defeats.

"I think we came out here a little complacent, have some young boys who don't quite understand coming out every day and playing competitive baseball," said Aycock head coach Nelson Cunningham.

Four eighth-graders started for Aycock, which built a 2-0 advantage through three innings. Jacob Naughton plated the game's first run with a second-inning sacrifice fly to center field.

Justin Barbour pushed the lead to 2-0 with an RBI double that scored lead-off batter Bobby Hamiton, who started the third inning with a single.

Kinston roared back in the fourth.

Aycock starter Ben Rouse issued a lead-off walk to Vequian Joyner and surrendered an infield single to Damian Williams. Taishu McLawhorn laced a two-RBI double into left center to aid the four-run uprising that included two stolen bases and an errant pick-off throw.

Post 43 swiped five bases on the night.

"Kinston did a good job running the bases, were taking second and we couldn't throw them out," said Cunningham. "With their speed, a ground ball they're scoring easily."

Aycock conceded Kinston's fifth run on a groundout to second base in the fifth inning. Cunningham's team responded in the bottom half with a three-run outburst on Noah West's RBI double and Hank Smitherman's two-RBI base knock.

Post 43 manufactured the game-winning run in the seventh.

Bradshaw walked, took second on a wild pitch and headed to third on Wesley Melvin's groundout. Joyner drove in Bradshaw with a deep fly ball to center field.

Aycock put runners aboard in the final two innings, but couldn't score. Cunningham's team stranded 11 men on base and batted 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Grant took the hard-luck loss on the mound.

"In the sixth and seventh innings, we started taking some pitches and hitting the ball hard," said Cunningham. "You can't take anything from Kinston. They stuck it out during the ballgame and they brought their horse (Bradshaw) in the seventh inning to shut it down.

"We got behind and fought back, so I did see a little heart there. We just didn't get the big hit."