05/24/12 — CBA baseball ready for regional battle

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CBA baseball ready for regional battle

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 24, 2012 1:48 PM

Charles B. Aycock players gathered up their equipment, stopped for quick hugs, congratulatory handshakes and pictures outside the dugout after a miraculous comeback win over West Brunswick on Tuesday evening.

The celebration ended there.

There's still some unfinished business.

The Golden Falcons (19-8 overall) continue their surprising postseason run at home today against Eastern Alamance in the best-of-three, N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A east regional championship series. First pitch is 6 p.m. at Charles Davis Field.

Game 2 is Friday in Mebane.

A third game, if necessary, is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. in Pikeville.

Just three weeks ago, Aycock's playoff future was in jeopardy after a shocking, opening-round shutout loss to South Johnston in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament. The players stewed about the 7-0 defeat during their extended break and welcomed the chance of redemption when South's playoff hopes disappeared.

"We didn't even know if we'd be in the playoffs," CBA head coach Charles Davis said. "It's been unreal. There was something the whole season that I felt like we were missing. When we got beat by South Johnston, we had 10 days ... did a lot of talking and soul searching right there.

"We noticed that we had a chance (to do something special). The ball has bounced our way. Our pitchers have kept us in ballgames. We've played good defense and we've been able to get timely hits."

The Golden Falcons have become giant killers in the postseason with victories over three No. 1 seeds -- D.H. Conley, Currituck and West Brunswick. They're in the eastern regionals for the first time since 2007 when they won the second state title in program history.

It's the fifth time since 2007 that an ECC team has either reached the eastern semifinals or regional championship series. Eastern Wayne claimed the east crown in 2009, was an eastern semifinalist in 2010 and concluded 2011 as the east runner-up.

The Golden Falcons, who are 9-4 in games decided by two runs or less this season, have shown amazing resiliency at the right time. A errant pick-off throw and a wild pitch proved crucial in West Brunswick's third-inning, three-run uprising.

Aycock kept pecking away and finally caught a break in the seventh inning when West committed a throwing error on a bunt. Back-to-back singles from Pate and Collin DuBose capped the Golden Falcons' stunning rally.

"Oh my God," CBA junior Adam Pate said. "We were doubted coming into the playoffs. People even said we weren't going to make the playoffs when we lost to South Johnston at home that night. That's been the fuel to our fire."

Eastern Alamance (21-8) finished in a three-way tie for second place in the highly-competitive Mid-State Conference, but drew the No. 4 seed based on tiebreakers. The Eagles have triumphed in nine of their last 10 outings since a mid-April loss at league foe Eden Morehead.

Six seniors and nine juniors comprise Eastern's 15-player roster, and seven are right-handed pitchers. Before this season, the Eagles had won just one playoff game in three appearances since 2007.

Eastern has never played for a state championship.