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Winning is expected of the tradition-rich Charles B. Aycock High varsity baseball team and first-year head coach Allen Thomas’ club obliged in Saturday’s opening session of the fifth annual Golden Leaf Invitational with a 9-0 conquest of struggling Southern Nash.
The 3-A Golden Falcons of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference did not swing the bats well, scratching out five hits, but senior pitchers Luke Frederick, the starter and winner, Jordan Gay and Nicholas Aycock combined to shut out the Firebirds on five hits.
Frederick hurled the first five innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out a pair. Gay and Aycock pitched an inning each.
CBA (10-3) benefited from four walks and two errors in the five-run first inning. Senior Blake Gipson and Frederick each singled. Freshman Clay Matthews slapped a two-run single in the three-run seventh.
“We did what we had to do,” Thomas said. “They gave us free passes and we were able to capitalize on their mistakes.
“Frederick was not sharp early, but we was better in the third and fourth innings. We were lucky the first two innings to get out of it.
“We really enjoy coming over here; it’s a short ride. We want to play the toughest competition, but we come over here to get a win. With the way the playoffs are now, every win is important.”
Southern Nash (5-9) got a double and single from sophomore A.J. Jones and six encouraging innings of mound work from junior right-hander Jonathan Stallings. But the Firebirds allowed eight unearned runs.
“That’s what we are fighting,” said Southern Nash head coach Todd Brewer. “Take away the first and last innings and it’s a 1-0 game. Jonathan pounded the zone and made them put it in play. That’s definitely something to build on.
“We’re fighting and we’re going to get there. Good things happened today.”
Southern Nash has dropped seven in a row.
Score by innings:
C.B. Aycock 500 010 3 — 9
Southern Nash 000 000 0 — 0
WP-Luke Frederick 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO. LP-Jonathan Stallings 6 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Charles B. Aycock: Blake Dilda 1-3, Blake Gipson 1-3, Luke Frederick 1-3, Nick Aycock 1-4, Clay Matthews 1-1, 2 RBI; Southern Nash: A.J. Jones 2-3, 2B; Colton Cruz 1-3, Jason Montague 1-4.
CARDINAL GIBBONS 7, NASH CENTRAL 6
After building a 6-0 lead after two innings, 4-A Cardinal Gibbons, the 2017 Golden Leaf champion, fought off a 2-A Nash Central comeback. Decisive was Michael Smith’s RBI single in the fifth.
Starting Crusaders right-hander Cam Jones failed to retire a batter in Nash Central’s four-run fifth. However, Jones got the win when right-hander Drew Sotell relieved and limited the Bulldogs (5-7) to three hits and an earned run the final 2 2/3 innings.
Nick Brassington and Gray Betts each rapped two hits and dorve in two runs for the Crusaders (9-3). Brassington stole two bases.
“We wanted to get a win,” Cardinal Gibbons head coach Jim Liebler emphasized. “We did flat-line a little bit the middle of the game. (Nash Central) came back and did a good job of staying in the game. We’re here to win three games again and, if you win the first game, you’ve got a chance to win it.”
Score by innings:
Nash Central 001 040 1 — 6
Cardinal Gibbons 240 010 x — 7
WP-Cam Jones 4 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 0 SO. LP-Andrew Page. S-Drew Sotell 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Cardinal Gibbons: Nick Brassington 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 SB; Gray Betts 2-3, 2 RBI.
ROSEWOOD 8, ROCKY MOUNT 3 (8 INNINGS)
Blanked by Rocky Mount pitchers Kyle Rich and Connor Powell through six innings, Rosewood of the 1-A Carolina Conference forced the extra inning with three tainted runs in the top of the seventh and then shelled losing Gryphons reliever Jamar Ellis for five runs in the top of the eighth.
The Golden Eagles improved to 6-2, while Rocky Mount of the 3-A Big East Conference slid to 5-7.
In the seventh, Rosewood loaded the bases on Tucker Chapin’s single and two walks, and plated three runs on a passed ball, a misplayed fielder’s choice and a wild pitch.
But in the eighth, Wyatt Searles slapped a two-run single and winning pitcher Chance Howard doubled in a run.
Howard, a senior right-hander, worked the sixth and seventh innings, while Jonathan Peacock pitched the eighth. Howard and Searles each banged out a pair of hits.
Victor Ward went 2 for 4 for the Gryphons. Austin Lettrell tripled and Jackson Tedford singled in a run.
Score by innings:
Rosewood 000 000 35 — 8
Rocky Mount 001 110 00 — 3
WP-Chance Howard (1-0) 2 IP, 1 H, 0 0R, 1 BB, 3 SO. LP-Jamar Ellis.
LEADING HITTERS — Rosewood: Chance Howard 2-5, 2B, RBI; Wyatt Searles 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Tucker Chapin 1-4; Rocky Mount: Victor 2-4, Austin Luttrell 1-3, 3B; Jackson Tetford 1-3, RBI.
EAST WAKE 15, WILSON CHRISTIAN 3, 5 INNINGS
Wilson Christian Academy of the North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A ranks trailed East Wake of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A division only 4-3 after two innings.
However, East Wake exploded for eight runs in the third inning and proceeded to a 15-3, five-inning triumph.
Starting pitcher Zach Denmark took the loss for the Chargers, and was followed to the mound by Carlos Molina and Brice Murray. Denmark led the WCA offense with two RBIs.
Wayne Country Day 4, Faith Christian 1; Raleigh Homeschool 5, Roxboro Community 4; Farmville Central 2, Northern Nash 1; and Corinth Holders 1, South Granville 0.