When it’s time to step up — step up, or more accurately jump up. Will Harris made sure to jump up.
In the top of the first inning with two outs and the bases loaded, Perquimans’ Nathan Scaff drilled the ball in between second and third base, but with cat-like reflexes, Harris snatched the ball out of the air for one out and then tagged second base for the double play.
“That play was huge,” Rosewood head coach Jason King said. “That ball gets through and who knows what happens. It was a hard-hit ball right at him, but he did exactly what he needed to do.
“That was a big play.”
The damage was avoided, and Rosewood went on to win its second-round N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoff game against Perquimans 6-2.
Excited after Harris’ catch, the Eagles went to work in the bottom of the first.
With the bases loaded, Logan Merritt stepped into the batter’s box and delivered a two-RBI single, while later in the inning with bases loaded again, Conner Casey also hit a two-RBI single to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead.
Perquimans (14-9 overall) pulled within 4-2 when Jacob Godfrey scored off a wild pitch, and Braden Craddock hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Spencer Loftis to score. However, the Pirates had just six base runners during the final five innings.
“They put some pressure on us early in the game,” King said. “We had some trouble finding it at times early in the game, but when we settled down, we were able to put the ball in play and make things happen.”
The Eagles (19-3 overall) added two runs in the bottom of the third inning on Will Albert’s RBI double and Casey’s RBI sacrifice fly.
Patrick Jones got the start and pitched one and one-third innings before Harris came in and pitched the rest of the game. Harris retired four batters, gave up five hits and zero runs.
At the plate, the Eagles were led by Conner Casey who was 1-2 with three RBIs. Logan Price went 3-4 from the plate with a double, while Will Albert was 2-3 with an RBI and a double. Logan Merritt had two RBIs, while Tanner Capps, Connor Wise and Carson Hatem all finished with one hit apiece.
The Eagles will host East Carteret in the third round on Tuesday.
“Our guys did their job, and I’m proud of them,” King said. “Each round from here is going to get a little more difficult.”