04/15/12 — Deacon Jones -- Princeton nips NoJo

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Deacon Jones -- Princeton nips NoJo

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 15, 2012 1:52 AM

PRINCETON -- Princeton needed a confidence boost.

Trevor Haines and Austin Hinton definitely provided it Friday afternoon.

Haines' big defensive play and Hinton's game-ending, walk-off single propelled the Bulldawgs past county nemesis North Johnston, 4-3, in the consolation game of the 2012 Deacon Jones Invitational.

Princeton (4-10 overall) prevailed for just the second time in its last eight outings and picked up just its second home win on the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex diamond this season.

"Everybody did something today to help us win," Princeton assistant coach Russell Williamson said. "We needed to win one like that pretty bad and hopefully it's something that will get us going."

Cameron Davis' one-out single and Sean Mangum's sacrifice bunt put the Panthers in scoring position in the top of the seventh. Courtesy runner Tyler Hodge, who replaced Davis, headed for home when lead-off batter Matt Evans laced a two-out single down the third-base line.

Haines scooped up the ball and threw a line-drive shot -- all in one motion -- to catcher Tyler Daniels, who applied the tag on a sliding Hodge.

Hinton joked his teammate had been having arm trouble, but Haines didn't show it on the inning-ending play.

"I just put everything into the throw," grinned Haines. "The game was on the line."

Haines, fittingly, started the Bulldogs' game-winning rally. North Johnston hurler Tanner Snipes hit him and Haines moved to second base on Brad Williamson's single up the middle.

Daniels reached on a bunt, which set the table for Hinton. Evans, who relieved Snipes, threw a fastball down the pipe and Hinton slapped it back up the middle to score Haines.

Hinton, who received all-tournament recognition, cranked out five hits and four RBI in the two-day affair.

"Everything has felt right, I guess," Hinton said. "I've been seeing the ball real good and laying off the off-speed. The last inning ... pretty intense."

The teams traded defensive miscues and battled to a 3-3 tie through 3 1/2 innings. Princeton right-hander Forrest Stewart, an all-tournament pick, retired 11 of 13 batters during three-plus innings of shutout work and finished with a complete-game, five-hitter.

Stewart fanned six Panthers and stranded two in scoring position.

"We settled down on defense about the third inning on, it seemed like we got comfortable in the game," coach Williamson said. "We've had a lot of trouble, I think, with our concentration level and that was there today. I don't know the reason why, but hopefully it will carry on ... ignite us a little bit."