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Ahoskie-Northern Nash split Junior games

AHOSKIE – Ahoskie’s American Legion Post 102 Junior baseball team found their rhythm in the second game of a doubleheader against Northern Nash here Sunday.

After losing the first game, 11-5, they bounced back to take the second game, shortened to five innings, 15-5.

The win allowed the juniors to gain a split in the twinbill and up their record on the season to 9-5. It also marked the first time Ahoskie had scored a win against the boys from Red Oak in two years.

&uot;Thirty hits on the day is not too bad,&uot; said a smiling Post 102 Junior coach David Ellis after the two games. &uot;Everybody hit the ball well and I knew we could play with these guys.

It’s the first time we’d beaten ’em in two years.&uot;

Until the 10-run win in game two, Ahoskie had suffered three straight defeats at the hands of their opponents from Nash County.

Only the first game will count in conference play, but the split will help in both teams’ overall record used to determine post-season play.

Post 102 swung some big bats during the doubleheader as Travis Ellis went six-for-nine in the two games while Edward Joyner went five-for-eight.

David Brackett drove in a total of five runs, including four with a grand-slam home run in the second game.

It could have been a sweep, but Ahoskie let a six-run lead slip away in the first game.

In game one, Ahoskie opened the first inning with a pair of singles by Ellis and Austin Cooke.

One out later, John Hunter doubled to left field to score Ellis with the first run of the game.

Joyner followed him with a two-run single to right field that scored Cooke and Hunter for a 3-0 lead.

Joyner took second on a throwing error on the play and advanced to third on a balk.

Brackett and Patrick Dilday were walked to load the bases.

Joyner scored later on a wild pitch, but Brackett was tagged out at home plate on Brad Miller’s fielder’s choice.

Dilday came home on Brandon Warren’s RBI to left to give Ahoskie a 5-0 lead as they batted around in the opening frame.

Ahoskie added to the lead with another run in the second when Cooke scored on a single by Hunter.

But the play was costly as Hunter was tagged out trying to steal second and on the play snapped his neck on a hard slide into the bag.

Hunter would leave the game in the top of the fourth inning, complaining of dizziness, but returned to pinch-hit later in both games.

Ahoskie took a 6-0 lead into the top of the fifth inning before starting pitcher Warren ran into trouble.

Northern Nash strung together nine hits, including a pair of drag bunts, and took advantage of some costly defensive miscues by the home team to plate seven runs on three different Ahoskie pitchers and took a one-run lead, 7-6, into the sixth inning.

Ahoskie was held scoreless the rest of the way while Northern Nash mustered five more runs to take game one, 12-6.

&uot;We got up on ’em six runs,&uot; said Ellis between contests, &uot;but they’re too good a team to let up on.

I knew they weren’t going to quit, but I guess (with that lead) our kids thought the game was over.&uot;

Petey Boone started game two for Ahoskie and surrendered an early run, but Ahoskie came back with a pair in the bottom of the first to lead, 2-1.

Ahoskie then strung together 10 runs in the second and third innings.

The highlight was a towering home run blast by Brackett in the second off a Northern Nash reliever with the bases loaded to make the score 7-1.

In the third inning Ellis hit a double to center that plated a pair of runs while Tyler Pryor also delivered with an RBI single.

Northern Nash cut the lead to 12-5 after four innings, but Ahoskie came on to slam the door with three runs in the bottom of the fifth, including a two-run single by Monterio Hunter that ended the game early with a 10-run margin.

&uot;I hate we lost those two games in a row,&uot; added Ellis, counting the Saturday defeat to Wayne County-North, &uot;but with a couple of conference games coming up this week we can get right back in the race.&uot;

Ahoskie hosted the junior team from Pitt County Post 160 of Farmville last night (Wednesday) and will travel to Rocky Mount on Friday for a 7 p.m. game at Post 58.