ZEBULON — The Rosewood Eagles have overcome numerous obstacles and bumps in the road on their way to the NCHSAA 1-A State Championship series.
Now they face their biggest obstacle yet.
In a continuation from Friday night’s game, Uwharrie Charter Academy came back to beat Rosewood 6-4 Saturday afternoon behind an 11-strikeout performance by Bryson Hamlet.
Facing a 1-0 hole, the Eagles now must win two games in a row to capture their first state title.
Friday night, before the game was rained out, Uwharrie Charter built up a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. With Rosewood up to bat, the game was suspended in the bottom second inning due to severe thunderstorms.
When the game picked back up Saturday morning, Rosewood quickly captured the momentum and the lead.
Will Albert started things off with a single and later scored off Patrick Jones’ double to right field.
Later in the bottom of the third, Logan Price scored on Tanner Capps’ single to tie the game 2-2. Rosewood took a 3-2 lead after Logan Merritt ripped off a single, which allowed Will Harris to score.
“We starched some runs together to start the game, and we just kept fighting our way in,” said Rosewood head baseball coach Jason King.
Uwharrie Charter fought back and tied the game in the top of the fifth inning when Spencer Lanier stole home plate and scored off a wild pitch, while Braylen Hayes’ double gave Uwharrie Charter a 4-3 lead.
Rosewood starter Tanner McKeel tossed a scoreless sixth. McKeel pitched six innings, gave up four runs and threw seven strikeouts before Harris came out of the bullpen in the seventh.
Uwharrie Charter tacked on its two runs in the seventh when Hamlet brought home Lanier with a home run to right field to push the score to 6-3.
Down the to their final three outs, Rosewood attempted to come back for the second time in the game. Price led things off with a double, but Harris and Capps both grounded out.
“We had some great at-bats,” King said. “Grinding out at-bats is always part of the game plan, and I thought we did a really good job of that, but we just have to increase it in the second game.”
Merritt’s single enabled Price to score and cut Uwharrie Charter’s lead down to 6-4. Albert followed up Merritts’ single with a single of his own, but with runners on first and first and second base, Patrick Jones’ flyout ended the game.
“Credit to Uwharrie, they played a good game and fought hard,” King said. “We just have to come back and play a really good second game.”
Check Monday’s edition of the News-Argus for full coverage of Rosewood versus Uwharrie Charter game two.