04/06/13 — Rosewood takes third at DJI

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Rosewood takes third at DJI

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

PRINCETON -- Lady Luck stranded Rosewood once. She didn't turn down the second invitation.

The Eagles bounced back from a heart-breaking, walk-off loss against its archrival and handed North Johnston a 4-3, eight-inning defeat in the third-place game of the 2013 Deacon Jones Invitational.

"We needed her to dance with us after the first game," Rosewood head coach Jason King said. "We had our feet to the fire, had some tough spots here and there (against North). Reed (Howell) pitched a great game.

"We got some timely hitting here and there with guys on base. It was a hard-fought one, that's for sure."

Rosewood (3-9 overall) owned a 2-0 lead despite grounding into double plays in each of the first three innings. Bryce McKeel, who earned a spot on the All-Invitational team, scored on a first-inning wild pitch.

Jonathan Cherry, who batted 2-for-4, legged out a second-inning bunt single that pushed Will Lane across the plate.

The Eagles put four runners aboard in the next three innings, but failed to produce a run. The Panthers (2-10) grabbed the lead, 3-2, when Tyler Edwards scampered home on a wild pitch in the fifth inning.

"It was so frustrating," King said of the missed scoring chances.

"You want something to happen so bad for them and they ground out into a double play. You can't allow it to hurt your confidence up there and sometimes it does, but we stuck with it at the plate."

North Johnston looked as if it might wiggle out of trouble in the sixth.

Right fielder Michael Stott, first baseman Tanner Snipes and catcher Michael Batten combined on a 9-3-2 play that forced the Eagles' Khalil Warren out at the plate. Warren slipped on the wet grass rounding third base after Will Lane drilled a sharply-hit single to right field.

"Oh my gosh," King said. "I said go on and score, score."

Lane later scored on an infield error to tie the game at 3-3.

The Panthers stranded the go-ahead run at second base in the seventh inning and the Eagles got what they needed in the eighth. Warren, who made the All-Invitational squad, led off with a single to left-center field and moved into scoring position on Hayden Amodeo's sacrifice bunt.

Cherry drove in Warren with a single that floated over the out-stretched glove of North Johnston shortstop Rusty Renfrow and dropped into left field.

Howell encountered some trouble in the eighth, but ended the game with a strikeout and finished with a five-hitter. The Panthers left the game-tying run at second base.

"Reed stayed in the strike zone, got ahead of the batters and controlled the bats pretty well," King said. "We made the routine plays we needed to make."

Rosewood tumbled into the consolation game when Princeton rallied for a 5-4 victory after trailing 4-0 through 61/2 innings. Brad Barnes' two-RBI walk-off double sealed the comeback and denied the Eagles' bid to reach the championship game for the third straight year.