SW Randolph downs Rockingham, 13-1

Error-filled 1st inning throws away chances of victory
* Rockingham 12-year-olds beat up Archdale, 12-1

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery – More than 600 pics

ROCKINGHAM — Bynum Field at Rockingham Civitan Park on Monday could very easily have been a place where dreams came true.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rockingham's Mike Pettit, left, slides safely around the tag of Southwest Randolph third baseman Kevin Newlin in the bottom of the third inning.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rockingham’s Mike Pettit, left, slides safely around the tag of Southwest Randolph third baseman Kevin Newlin in the bottom of the third inning.

For the team of 11-year-olds wearing the blue and orange for Rockingham in the Pony League Bronco Piedmont Section tournament opener, it was a place of nightmares, as an error-filled top of the first inning put the host team in a 5-0 hole and Rockingham fell to Southwest Randolph, 13-1, in a mercy rule-shortened five-inning game.

In the 12-year-olds’ tournament, Rockingham overwhelmed Archdale, 12-1. Bryson Lampley and Evan Hudson held Archdale to one hit over five innings. Rockingham scored seven runs in the top of the second to take a 7-1 lead that the players would later build on.

In the 11-year-olds’ tournament, Rockingham drops into the losers’ bracket and plays again at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Southwest Randolph advances in the winners’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament and plays at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“You take four (of six) errors out of there, it’s probably a 1-1 ballgame,” said Rockingham coach Joey Bostick, who emphasized before the game the inexperience of his team. “I thought we’d have played better.”

It’d take more than a pinch to wake up the blue and orange on Monday night. The game started out well enough as Parker Laplant popped out to first base for the first out. Things went downhill after that, and quickly.

Jackson Ellington reached on an error by Rockingham third baseman Gavin Russell. Ellington stole second and scored on an RBI double by Braxton Davis. Davis advanced to third on an error and scored on Kevin Newlin’s fielder’s choice for a 2-0 Southwest Randolph lead.

Camden Walker hit a liner to left, stole second and scored on Luke Dalke’s RBI single. Walker advanced to third on two throwing errors by the Rockingham defense. SW Randolph 3, Rockingham 0.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com It was a busy first inning for Rockingham first baseman Jarrett Morse.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
It was a busy first inning for Rockingham first baseman Jarrett Morse.

Ty Strickland reached on an error by shortstop Antonio Hines — who later made multiple defensive gems — and Chris Hardin followed with a grounder to short that Hines misplayed. Both Strickland and Hardin scored, and the inning mercifully ended when Laplant grounded out to Hines at short.

Hope wasn’t lost at this point, however, because at this level, if one team can make a bunch of miscues, so can the other team. With two outs, Justice Buie singled to left center for Rockingham’s first runner of the game. Russell hit a fly ball to centerfield that was misplayed. With runners on first and third and Jay Ammons at the plate, things were looking up for the home team. The hope, however, didn’t last long.

Buie scored when Hardin, Randolph’s catcher, tried to nab Russell while he tried to steal second to cut the deficit to 5-1. But Ammons struck out to end the threat.

From there, Southwest Randolph was almost on cruise control. The other other threat came on a series of unorthodox events in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, Rockingham third baseman Mike Pettit reached first on an error. One play after barely beating the pitcher’s throw to first base during a pick off attempt, Pettit was caught in a rundown between first and second — or so it appeared. Southwest Randolph misplayed what is normally an easy out and Pettit slid safely into second base.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com By the time Rockinghgam's defense came around, it was too late.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
By the time Rockinghgam’s defense came around, it was too late.

The Randolph pitcher wasn’t done yet with Pettit, who again was safe — barely — during a pickoff attempt. Then Pettit made for third and he was caught by a near-perfect throw by Hardin, Randolph’s catcher. But as Newlin spun to apply the tag, his gloved hand went high and wide, allowing Pettit, who slid wide right, to avoid the tag.

Buie walked, putting runners on first and third, but Russell’s hard-hit liner to center was hauled in by Walker to end the rally.

Southwest Randolph went up 6-1 after three innings and added two more before Rockingham replaced starting pitcher Austin Long with Hines, removed from the shortstop position.

That moved seemed to pay off in the near-term, as Hines gave up an RBI single to Dalke between two strikeouts to end the top of the fourth. Rockingham trailed, 9-1.

Rockingham went down in order, all three on strikeouts — all three swinging — in the bottom of the fourth. In the top of the fifth, the change at short didn’t look so good as three of Southwest Randolph’s four hits went to the left or right of Pettit, the new shortstop. Randolph suddenly held a 12-1 lead and increased it to 13-1 when Davis scored on a throwing error.

Rockingham went quietly in the fifth — three strikeouts, including one looking — to end the game.

 

 

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