Two-run ninth drops Post 77 in SE tour­ney

The Covington News - - Sports - EDDIE LITAKER Spe­cial to The News

Rock­dale went through their reg­u­lar sea­son, and Ge­or­gia state cham­pi­onship sched­ule with a 30-1 record, but it didn’t pre­vent it from be­com­ing the vis­it­ing team dur­ing its open­ing game in the Amer­i­can Le­gion base­ball South­east Re­gional at Ri­ley Park in Sumter, S.C. Thurs­day.

Wilm­ing­ton Post 10 was the last team to bat in the nine-in­ning slugfest, and Chance Shep­ard made the valu­able bot­tom-half-ofthe-in­ning count with a two-RBI hit to sink Post 77 9-8.

Rock­dale will now have to come back through the elim­i­na­tion bracket for a chance at the Amer­i­can Le­gion World Se­ries, start­ing against the loser of Sumter vs. Fort Pierce to­day at noon.

Shep­ard fin­ished the game 3-for-5, in­clud­ing the tour­na­ment’s first home run, and also had a walk, two runs scored and six runs bat­ted in. The homer was a tworun blast over the right field fence in the fifth as North Carolina scored three runs to take a 4-3 lead.

The lead held un­til the eighth in­ning when Ge­or­gia put up five to take a seem­ingly in­sur­mount­able 8-4 lead. North Car- olina starter Bryan Sam­mons, who struck out eight and walked two while giv­ing up seven hits and four earned runs, opened the in­ning by sur­ren­der­ing a sin­gle to Cody Wof­ford.

Kenny Lanier faced the next nine bat­ters, four of which reached on base hits and two on walks. Robert Bell sin­gled in one run and Fred Wil­liams drove in two with a triple down the right field line. A Greg Pre­ston grounder brought home the fi­nal Post 77 run of the in­ning be­fore Gray Brooks came on to in­duce an in­ning-end­ing Keith Buck­hault fly ball to left with his only pitch of the in­ning.

North Carolina an­swered with three runs in the bot­tom of the eighth, spurred by a 2-RBI dou­ble from Shep­ard. Brooks then set Ge­or­gia down in or­der in the top of the ninth to keep the score at 8-7 head­ing to the bot­tom of the in­ning.

Wof­ford re­tired the first two bat­ters he faced be­fore Jack Fair­cloth laced a sin­gle to right. Chris­tian Wolfe, who was 4-for-5 with a stolen base and three runs scored, drew an in­ten­tional walk to set up a force at each base. How­ever, Wof­ford then walked Steven Link­ous to load the bases and set the ta­ble for Shep­ard.

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