05/03/13 — Rebels share title, but can clinch outright

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Rebels share title, but can clinch outright

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 3, 2013 1:47 PM

The final day of the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season has high stakes on the line.

League-leading North Duplin can put the finishing touches on its second conference title in three years with a win tonight at Spring Creek. The Rebels scored 13 runs in the final four innings of a 16-9 win over the Gators in mid-April in Calypso.

North Duplin (14-6 overall, 7-2 CC) has won six of its last eight games on its way to sole possession of first place in the Carolina 1-A. The Rebels have used the combination of timely hits reliable pitching to make head coach James Hobbs' second season in Calypso a success.

The Rebels have averaged nearly seven runs a game during conference play. Their lone senior, Mitchell Thigpen, leads the team in hitting with a .403 batting average.

North Duplin has compiled a team ERA of 3.29 and has tallied 164 strikeouts in 134 innings. Rebels' hurlers have held eight different opponents to two runs or fewer.

Spring Creek (11-9, 6-3 CC) needs a victory tonight to create a three-way tie for first place in the conference. The Gators have reeled off four conference wins in a row, including a 6-1 victory over the Chargers on April 23.

A loss tonight could drop Spring Creek into a third-place tie with Rosewood.

Junior Matt Rogers, and brothers Luke and Logan Miller, continue to produce for Spring Creek. Pitching depth and an offense that scores nearly six runs a game have been keys to success for the Gators.

Rosewood (6-14, 5-4) concludes its regular season at home tonight against archrival Princeton. The Eagles need a victory and a Spring Creek loss in order to finish third in the league.

Daniel Herring's .480 batting averages leads an Eagles' offense that at times has put up runs in bunches and struggled to score in other instances. Rosewood has split a pair of meetings with Princeton this season.

"Our guys have to understand that number one it's Princeton which is always big for us," Eagles' head coach Jason King said. "We didn't make the playoffs last year and this is a huge spot for us this year. We don't know what might happen because everybody is so close in our conference."

The Bulldogs' only hope of making the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs is by securing a wild-card berth. Princeton (7-12, 3-6) needs every win it can get at this point.

The Bulldogs have won two of their last three games despite being outscored by their opponents 118-80 this season.