Post 102: Survive and advance

Published 7:56am Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ROCKY MOUNT – A long memory helps.

Ahoskie Post 102’s junior American Legion baseball team didn’t forget the sting of losing out to the Cary Colts in the Legion Area-One Playoffs in Rocky Mount last July.

One year later, Ahoskie returned the favor.

A four-run fifth inning broke open a close game here Sunday and propelled Ahoskie to a 6-4 win over the Colts and earned Post 102 a shot at a state title when the junior Legion state championship begins this week on Friday in Cary.

Ahoskie was the second seed in the Rocky Mount Tournament.  The Cary Bulls, who also advance to the states, came in undefeated and seeded number-one.

Also like last year, Ahoskie dropped their first game of the double-elimination event, then stormed back to win three straight, this time the final game earning Post 102 their shot at the state crown.

“We had great pitching from everybody in the playoffs,” said first-year Post 102 coach Jacob Harrell.  We got key hits and played great defense.  I’m just so very, very proud of this team.”

Ahoskie opened the Districts on Saturday with a noon game against Manteo, a team Post 102 had defeated twice in the regular season.  The Dare County nine took that game, 3-1.

But Ahoskie won a Saturday afternoon contest with a 5-0 shutout of Wilson to live again and play on Sunday.  That’s when Post 102 first topped Chapel Hill, 5-2 in an elimination game, and then whipped Cary to win the qualifier and advance to the states.

Ahoskie opened the scoring against the Colts with a run in the top of the first inning.  Cary came back to get the equalizer in the bottom of the frame and it was 1-1 after one inning of play.

Jacob Doughtie scored Trey Futrell with an RBI single to centerfield in the top of the second to put Ahoskie on top 2-1.

Post 102 blew the game open in the top of the fifth.  Tyler Jones singled to left field and Jordan Brinkley walked to get two aboard.  Jones then scored on a Jarrett Harrell RBI double to left, with Brinkley holding at third. Jake Brown then drew a walk to load the bases.  Evan Lassiter came on to run for Brown.  Brinkley then scored when Parker Cline ripped a line-drive single to center and Harrell scored one batter later on a wild pitch.  Later a pickoff throw to first base by the Cary catcher was wide of the bag allowing Lassiter to score from third.  Ahoskie had built a 6-1 lead after four-and-a-half.

Cary did not go quietly.  The Colts scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull within two at 6-4.

However, neither team scored in the final two innings and Post 102 had punched their ticket to Cary and a chance to make history.

Ahoskie finished with ten hits: three by Jones, two by Harrell, and one each by Brinkley, Cline, Futrell, Doughtie, and Gage Riddick.

Cline earned the win with four-and-two-thirds innings of work on the hill.  Harrell pitched the final two-and-a-thirds to earn the save.

“We’re happy to advance to the state tournament,” said a jubilant Harrell.  “This is the first time an Ahoskie junior team has ever advanced to the state tournament.”

The win raised Ahoskie’s record to 12-11.

AHOSKIE 5, CHAPEL HILL 2

Four runs in the first inning was all Post 102 needed to beat Chapel Hill in a win-or-go-home game, 5-2, Sunday afternoon.

Ahoskie opened the scoring when Tyler Jones blasted an infield single up the middle.  He then went to third on Jordan Brinkley’s bunt single and scored on a wild pitch.  Jarrett Harrell walked and Jake Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Brinkley scored on a Parker Cline RBI single to right and Harrell scored on a Gage Riddick RBI single to left.  Pinch runner Daquan Wilson, running for Brown, scored on a Jaycob Damo infield base hit for the final Post 102 run of the inning and Ahoskie broke out of the gate with a 4-0 lead after just a half-inning of baseball.

Ahoskie’s final run came one inning later when Brinkley scored on a Harrell sacrifice fly.

Jones did the rest on the mound, pitching five-and-a third innings and surrendering just two runs.  Harrell picked up the save with an inning-and-two-thirds of scoreless relief.

Cline, Riddick, and Damo had two hits each as Ahoskie banged out ten total hits for the game.

MANTEO 3, AHOSKIE 1

In Saturday’s first game of the Area One playoffs, Manteo beat Ahoskie 3-1.  Manteo scored two runs in the top of the second and added another in the third for a 3-0 lead.

Ahoskie scored its lone run in the bottom of the sixth when Parker Cline doubled down the left field line.  Gage Riddick then reached and advanced to second on a two-base error as Cline moved to third.  Braxton Newsome then ripped an RBI single to left to score Cline.  Ahoskie would load the bases in the same inning but fail to convert any more chances into runs.

Jarrett Harrell took the loss with relief help from Slade Cowan and Tyler Jones. Six different Ahoskie batters had hits in this game: Jones, Harrell, Cline, Damo, Newsome, and Jacob Doughtie.

AHOSKIE 5, WILSON 0

Slade Cowan pitched a two-hit shutout as Post 102 defeated Wilson in an elimination game late Saturday evening and advanced to play again on Sunday.

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