04/25/12 — Chargers earn share of CPIC lead

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Chargers earn share of CPIC lead

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 25, 2012 1:48 PM

Cole Davis got the pitch he wanted. Cody Neal gets to keep the whiskers.

Davis mashed a walk-off, three-run home run and lifted Wayne Country Day to a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory over Faith Christian of Rocky Mount on a breezy, chilly Tuesday afternoon. The Chargers (10-6 overall) grabbed a share of the Coastal Plains Independent 1-A Conference baseball lead with the Patriots, who dipped to 6-1 in league play this season.

Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, WCDS first baseman John Strickland poked a two-strike, one-out single up the middle. Neal followed with a single off the right center-field wall and stole second.

Davis stepped into the batter's box.

The senior captain worked Patriots right-hander Chase Roupp to a 2-1 count. Roupp, who showed signs of fatigue in the previous inning, left a fastball up on his next pitch and Davis deposited it over the left center-field fence.

Jacob Magera, Johnson's courtesy runner, and Neal trotted home. Once Davis touched the plate, a wild celebration ensued.

"On the previous at-bat, he came back with a curveball and got me (on a called third strike)," Davis said. "But I knew what he was going to do the next at-bat. I was thinking curveball and just reacted to the fastball."

It was Davis' second homer of the season and just the fifth overall for the Chargers, who won their eighth consecutive game. Before Davis' bases-clearing mash, WCDS had stranded eight runners on the bags with six in scoring position.

The Chargers managed just two hits against Roupp and drew six walks before stringing together three straight hits in the seventh. Roupp benefited from a double-play grounder in the third inning and wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

"The guy from Faith pitched a great game, but he was getting deep in his pitch count," WCDS head coach Michael Taylor said. "I told them we have to be patient at the plate, get your pitch and swing the bat. We had been putting the ball in play and I knew sooner or later he would start leaving balls up in the zone."

Faith Christian (9-8) pushed across a second-inning run on a bases-loaded walk. The Patriots extended their advantage to 2-0 on Andrew Barnes' one-out base knock in the seventh.

WCDS played flawless defense behind junior right-hander Cody Neal, who threw 96 pitches and earned his seventh decision of the season. He scattered four hits in a complete-game effort, logged six strikeouts and retired 14 of 16 batters he faced until the thrilling seventh.

Strickland scooped up three ground balls in the dirt that led to outs at first base. Davis turned a 6-6-3 double play in the second inning. Right fielder Josh Jackson made a diving catch on a fly ball to end the Patriots' final-inning threat.

Neal hasn't shaved his beard since the Chargers started their win streak after a 12-6 road loss to Faith Christian on March 29.

"That's the best part of the whole deal," Davis said of his teammate who doesn't need to invest in a razor ... yet.