God, or something else, lifts Pony All-Stars to win

Previous coverage

* Pony All-Stars fall, 4-3
* All-Stars win sectional championship
* Pitching carries All-Stars to Friday

By Kevin Spradlin

One of the great debates of the 20th and 21st centuries is whether God is a baseball fan.

On Friday, those who favor the idea gained a team of 14-year-old supporters. Jeff Ingram, coach of Rockingham’s Pony All-Stars, started the team’s pre-game session Friday in a win-or-go-home Pony League East Zone South Region tournament in Huntersville¬†with prayer and a¬†plea to be more aggressive at the plate.

Whether it was God or something else, it worked.

PonyAlong with the team’s typical strong pitching and defense,”the bats came alive,” said coach Robbie Allen, and the Rockingham squad pounded its way to a 14-3 win over High Point in the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

The All-Stars face Southampton-Sussex (Va.) at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“Coach Ingram had a word of prayer with the team before the game,” Allen said. “In the first inning, they came out swinging.”

And they connected. The Rockingham nine scored seven runs in the top of the first en route to an 11-run, mercy rule-shortened five-inning ballgame. The team pounded out 11 hits in the win as Rockingham pitchers held High Point batters to only two hits.

In the batter’s box, Tyler Blount, Justin Ingram, Chad Puckett, Alex Anderson and Nolan Allen each had two hits with a double for the winners. Rockingham scored seven in the first, three each in the third and fourth innings and one more in the fifth and final inning.

On the mound, starting pitcher Drew Grant tossed three innings and struck out four. Blount came on in relief and struck out two in one inning of work and closer Camerson Carraway, in his first All-Star appearance this season, shut the door by striking out two in the bottom of the fifth.

“They hit the gaps today,” Allen said. “We were kind of surprised.”

If Rockingham wins the 10 a.m. game Saturday, the boys will play again at 12:30 p.m.



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