04/06/13 — Princeton wins Deacon Jones Invitational

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Princeton wins Deacon Jones Invitational

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 6, 2013 11:51 PM

PRINCETON -- Has Princeton turned the corner?

A come-from-behind victory over an archrival and a shut out in the second meeting against a conference opponent would indicate such hopes.

And the Bulldogs have certainly found some much-desired confidence.

Matt Daughtry hurled a four-hit shutout and Princeton emerged the 2013 Deacon Jones Invitational champion with a 2-0 conquest of Spring Creek on a chilly Friday evening.

"We've peeked around the corner at least," PHS head coach Bruce Proctor said. "We were fortunate to win that first game (today), no question. I liked our approach because the kids had a good time and they played hard.

"What more can you ask of them?"

A freshman, Daughtry threw an efficient 71 pitches and benefited from a defense that turned two critical double plays behind him. The right-hander permitted just one hit after giving up three first-inning singles to the Gators, who beat the Bulldogs (4-8 overall) less than three weeks ago in the teams' Carolina 1-A opener.

Daughtry, who grabbed a spot on the All-Invitational team, retired eight of 10 batters during the middle innings and didn't allow a Spring Creek runner to advance past second base. The Gators batted 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded three on base for the game.

"We could not get anything going whatsoever," Gators head coach Heath Whitfield said. "We made some base-running mistakes the first inning or two, ran into some outs. Daughtry did a good job. I was real impressed with him.

"They played good defense behind him."

All-Invitational selection Michael Wooten gave Princeton a 1-0 lead on a third-inning bases-loaded walk that scored Daughtry, who reached base on a two-out infield error.

Invitational MVP Brad Barnes doubled to start the Dogs' sixth inning and trotted home on Matt Peedin's one-out single to left field to make it 2-0. Daughtry, Wooten and Barnes were joined on the All-Invitational squad by teammate Jake Sullivan.

Daughtry struck out two and walked two.

"We stayed together as a team, I started to throw strikes and we got things going when we got on base," Daughtry said. "It's a big win and I think it's going to boost our confidence in conference play.

"I think we did well today, we didn't drop our heads and we stayed in the game."

Princeton collected just three hits against Spring Creek starter Luke Miller and reliever Allen Coor. Coor was chosen to the All-Invitational team along with Chad Spurgeon and Logan Miller, who earned a no-decision in the Gators' opening-round win over North Johnston.