West Raleigh finishes on top of R’ham Blue

 Blue crew still advances to regional tourney July 11-13 in High Point

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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GARNER — A sixth-inning rally fell short as the Rockingham Blue All-Star team fell to West Raleigh Sunday afternoon on Lions Field in Garner, 11-8.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Davis Faw slides into second safely in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Davis Faw slides into second safely in the bottom of the fifth inning.

It was the second loss for the Rockingham team in the double-elimination tournament, but Coach Michael Eason confirmed the team qualified for the regional tournament beginning July 11 in High Point.

Trailing 11-2 after the top of the fifth, the boys in Blue tallied two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Andrew Conyers led off with an infield single that was managed by not handled by the West Raleigh shortstop. Camron Seagroves followed with a grounded to the pitcher, who misplayed the ball to put runners on first and second with no outs.

Davis Faw followed with a single to short left to load the bases and Talon Stoner sliced a two-run single up the middle that somehow got through West Raleigh’s all-around, everywhere shortstop to cut the lead to 11-4. Conyers and Seagroves scored on the hit.

With two outs, Ty Murray extended the inning with a single to shallow right field. After several long foul balls down the left field line, Tripp Gadson ended the inning when his fly ball to left was hauled in.

Rockingham held West Raleigh, which lost to Rockingham 16-15 Friday  night, scoreless in the top of the sixth. It set up the drama that was the bottom half of the frame.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com A little short. Talon Stoner had a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth but was out on this slide into third.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
A little short. Talon Stoner had a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth but was out on this slide into third.

With one out, James Eason singled to shallow center and Bryson Salomon followed with a lazy pop-up that dropped in between pitcher and short stop. Damon Bryant then sliced a ball that simply isn’t rehearsed in practice. His ball leapt off the ball but with such a spin so as to remind fans of tennis, not baseball. It hit the infield dirt a few field in front of home plate and bounced sharply towards home. West Raleigh players, on the advice of the coaches shouting from their dugout, didn’t touch it in hopes it would go foul.

It didn’t, and left the bases loaded for Julian Cline. Cline hit into a fielder’s choice that scored a run, bringing Rockingham to within 11-5. Now with two outs, Conyers’ fly ball to left was misplayed — a rare miscue by the talented West Raleigh left fielder — and two scored on the play as the Rockingham Blue All-Stars pulled within 11-7.

The momentum had shifted, said Rockingham coach Michael Eason.

“They were getting down on themselves,” said Eason of the West Raleigh squad. “We had the top of the lineup coming up.”

It wasn’t to be, however. Seagroves hit an RBI single to second and advanced on the fielder’s error. Rockingham’s next batter popped out to the West Raleigh short stop to end the game.

Eason said his team had plenty of chances early on despite a two-run home run by Cameron Crewes in the first inning that helped put his Blue team in a 4-0 deficit. The Blue team pulled within 4-1 when Walker Lambeth scored Rockingham’s first run of the game on an RBI single by James Eason in the bottom of the first.

“We didn’t hit the ball as good in the first few innings,” Eason said.

And when his batters did put something behind it, a West Raleigh glove was there to catch it.

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  • Connie Lindstrand

    Thank you so much for coming all the way out to Garner to report on the Rockingham All-Stars. The boys have worked so hard and have made us proud. Your coverage of local events has been fabulous and I am really enjoying the Pee Dee Post.

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