The Rosewood High School baseball team didn’t just win its fourth-round playoff game against John A. Holmes. It made a full-on statement.
No. 2 Rosewood used a 14-run first inning to dominate No. 3 John A. Holmes 14-6 on Friday to advance to their first regional series since 2017. The Eagles will face off against No. 5 Bear Grass Charter at 7 p.m. in “the Nest.”
“It exciting to be in this position, and we feel fortunate to make it this far,” Rosewood head coach Jason King said. “Every guy in the dugout felt like this is something we could achieve when we started the season, but we have to realize it’s not over and we still have a job to do.
“We have got to play really well to give ourselves a chance to advance.”
The Eagles will have to defeat the Bears twice to move on to the state championship series against the winner of No. 10 Uwharrie Charter Academy and No. 12 Roxboro Community.
In its third-round game, Bear Grass Charter upset No. 1 Riverside 3-1 behind the strength of dominant pitching and timely hitting. With the score tied 1-1 going into the sixth inning, the Bears scored one run in the sixth and one run in the seventh to hold on and pull off the upset.
Riverside failed to score more than one run for the first time since March 5, and Bear Grass Charter limited Riverside to just five hits in the game.
“Bear Grass is a quality baseball team,” Rosewood head coach Jason King said. “They do the little things well. They’re good defensively, and offensively they put pressure on you. They’re going to be a good test for sure.
“We’re looking forward to playing Bear Grass and all the challenges that it brings.”
Over Rosewood’s first three games in the playoffs, the Eagles pitchers have combined to allow 14 earned runs in 20 innings pitched. Between Patrick Jones, Will Harris, Will Albert, Logan Price and Tanner McKeel, Rosewood pitchers have combined to strike out 20 batters with 14 walks and have only allowed 23 hits.
Offensively, Rosewood has been even more dangerous. The Eagles have combined for 32 hits in three games and have a .400 batting average. Jones leads the Eagles with seven RBIs, while Price hit the Eagles’ lone home run this postseason.
Only McKeel, Albert and Price were on Rosewood’s last regional squad, but King is not worried about the lack of seniors on the roster and said if the Eagles keep taking it “one game at a time,” they’ll advance to the state championship series.
“We’re taking care of the little things, and we really just have to stick to the things we’ve been doing the entire season,” King said. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. If we continue to do the things that we’ve put in place and not focus on what the other team does, that will help us stay focused mentally.”