04/29/12 — Chargers pull away from Rebels late

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Chargers pull away from Rebels late

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 29, 2012 1:52 AM

CALYPSO -- Share the title again?

Ayden-Grifton put those thoughts to rest Friday evening.

Zach Johnson's two-RBI single capped a four-run, seventh-inning uprising in a pivotal, 6-2 victory over Carolina 1-A Conference baseball rival North Duplin on Friday evening.

The Chargers (12-8 overall, 7-1 CC) avoided the three-way tie for first place and lead Spring Creek by one game. The Rebels (13-5, 5-3) trail by two games with one week left in regular-season play.

"Now we're going to try and take care of business with our team, and not worry about other teams," first-year Rebels head coach James Hobbs said. "We're going to try to get the highest (playoff) seed in the conference that we can get."

The teams battled to a 2-2 tie through six innings.

A third-inning error led to Ayden-Grifton's first run. Shortstop Adam Wingate, one of three seniors, belted a fifth-inning solo home run to put the Chargers in front, 2-1.

A wild pitch led to the Rebels' game-tying run in the third. James Kornegay cranked out his lone hit -- an RBI double in the fifth. James Britt attempted to also score on the play, but was thrown out at home by left fielder Matt McLawhorn.

"Our guys showed up ready to play, had a lot of heart, had a lot of fight," Chargers head coach Chris Ross said. "I'm not taking anything away from North Duplin. They've got a great, great ballclub. When we played them the first time, for some reason I don't think our guys showed up for the fight.

"Tonight we fought every pitch, every play, every inning regardless of what happened. We didn't quit, didn't dwell on something when it happened and we moved on to the next thing."

Ayden-Grifton took charge in its final team at-bat.

Matt Sugg drew a lead-off walk against North Duplin right-hander Ryan Wolfe, who threw 101 pitches in 6 2/3 innings and took the hard-luck loss. Sugg advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Blake Allen's RBI single up the middle.

Mike Stancil singled home Allen. Johnson capped the surge with two-out, two-RBI single past the outstretched glove of the Rebels' third baseman.

"They hit it hard, they hit it on the ground and that's what you want," Hobbs said. "It slipped through third base, it slipped through some of the spots. They just got good hits at good times."