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Rams edge Northeast

AHOSKIE – Ridgecroft School’s Josh Morris drew a bases-loaded walk to break open a 4-all tie here Friday afternoon.

That helped the Rams go on to a 6-4 victory over rival Northeast Academy in the first round of the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association state tournament.

The Rams had opened the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the first frame.

Matthew Jones doubled to left and advanced to third on a Logan Kinlaw groundout. After Morris walked, Jones scored on a Patrick Dilday sacrifice fly, which also sent Morris to third. Morris scored on a wild pitch.

Brian Outlaw kept the inning alive when he walked and stole second. He then came around to score on a Josh Lane RBI-single that made it 3-0.

The Rams added another run in the bottom of the second stanza.

Chase Riddick walked to get a runner on, but was erased at second when Jones reached on a fielder’s choice. Jones stole second and then scored on Kinlaw’s RBI-single. The Rams built a 4-0 lead.

Northeast rallied back with three runs in the top of the third inning.

Arch Harrell reached on an error and stole second. Hunter Deloatch plated Harrell with an RBI-double to left-centerfield. John Pope then doubled down the left field line to score Deloatch. Pope came in on a Jud Smith RBI-single to center, trimming the Ridgecroft lead to 4-3.

Northeast tied the game in the top of the fourth frame. Harrell singled to left and scored when Deloatch laced a triple into right field.

Ridgecroft scored the game-winning runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Riddick walked, Jones was hit by a pitch and Kinlaw reached on an error to load the bases full of Rams. Morris then drew a walk to force in one run (Riddick) and then Jones scored when Outlaw singled on a squeeze bunt.

In the top of the seventh, Deloatch had a one-out single to center, but two strikeouts ended the game.

Dilday pitched four innings for the Rams, picking up the win after allowing four runs on five hits. Morris pitched three innings for the save, allowing no runs and only one hit. He struck out seven.

For Northeast, Smith pitched two innings, Don Jernigan tossed one inning and Deloatch threw the other three.

Ridgecroft had six hits paced by Jones with two. Morris, Outlaw, Kinlaw and Lane had one hit each.

Northeast had seven hits with Deloatch having three. Jay Baugham, Pope, Smith and Harrell had one each.

“We came out and got an early lead,” Rams’ coach Nathan Dilday said. “Northeast came back and tied the game, but I am proud of the way we responded as a team.

“Patrick threw strikes and Josh came in and shut them down,” he added.

The Rams will now advance to the Elite 8 where they will meet another Tarheel Independent Conference foe, top-seeded Lawrence Academy. Ridgecroft will play at Lawrence today (Tuesday) at 5 p.m.