Post 102 edges into first

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2008

AHOSKIE – A Wednesday evening double-header sweep by Ahoskie Post 102 over Rocky Mount Post 58’s American Legion junior baseball team has propelled Ahoskie to the top of the standings with just a week remaining in the regular season.

Ahoskie won by scores of 4-3 in the first game and 10-7 in the nightcap. Both games featured some high drama.

Rocky Mount came into the two-game set 5-0 in the conference and 7-0 overall and suffered it’s first losses of the season.

John Hunter finished the night driving in five runs in the two contests. Travis Ellis and Austin Cooke scored five runs apiece in both games, with Cooke having the night’s only home run for Ahoskie, a towering shot over the left field wall in the second game.

&uot;I guess we showed we can play ball,&uot; said a smiling coach David Ellis after the twin-bill was complete, &uot;and we’re now in first-place.&uot;

Brandon Warren went the distance to pick up the win in gameone, striking out seven batters, and aided by some outstanding defense from his teammates, who turned two double-plays to stifle Rocky Mount threats.

Ahoskie opened things in the first inning of game one as lead-off hitter Ellis doubled to center field. Two batters later with one out, Hunter followed with the inning’s second double on a ball that was not played well and produced a 1-0 Ahoskie lead.

After Rocky Mount came back to tie it, Ahoskie opened their scoring in the third inning when, with one out, Cooke was hit by a pitch. Hunter followed with his second double of the game, a shot to the gap in left-center field. Cooke raced all the way from first for the second Ahoskie run and a 2-1 lead after three.

Post 58 would tie the game again in the top of the fourth on a home run, and with the score 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth Ahoskie collected their final runs of the game. A pair of walks put runners on first and second when Hunter drilled his third double of the night and Brad Miller scored the go-ahead run for a 3-2 lead for Post-102.  Edward Joyner followed with a sacrifice fly to right that scored Cooke to make the score, 4-2.

Rocky Mount trimmed the deficit to creep within 4-3; but Warren collected himself, and with two men on base a double play ended the game and gave Ahoskie their twelfth win of the year.

Because Rocky Mount moved their home game from a week ago Friday, thus creating the double-header, Post 58 was the home team for game two. 

Ahoskie wasted little time re-establishing itself, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning.

With two men on John Hunter continued his RBI barrage as he delivered Travis Ellis for the first run of the game. Austin Cooke scored one batter later on Edward Joyner’s RBI ground-out.  Zeek Williams followed with an infield shot that became a two-base error when misplayed, putting two runners in scoring position. Patrick Dilday’s sacrifice fly scored Hunter and Brandon Warren capped the scoring barrage with an infield single to score Williams for a 4-0 Ahoskie lead.

Leading 4-2 in the top of the fourth, Ellis drew a base-on-balls and came home on Cooke’s two-run home run over the left-field fence and a 6-2 Ahoskie advantage after three and a half innings.

It was 6-4, Ahoskie, in the top of the fifth when Joyner doubled to the wall in center-field and after stealing third, came home on Dilday’s second sacrifice to make the score 7-4.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, down 7-5, Rocky Mount got a home run to cut the lead to a single run, then a sacrifice later brought in the tying run to make it 7-7.  After an infield single, Ellis made a couple of pitching changes and then surprised the crowd of nearly a hundred spectators with a pair of intentional walks to load the bases. 

The next Rocky Mount batter then weakly popped up to relief pitcher Ellis, who fired to Dilday at first for an inning-ending double play that killed the Rocky Mount threat and sent the game into extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, with runners on first and second, Patrick Dilday hit what looked like a routine double-play ball in the infield, but the second baseman threw wildly to first on the relay and Joyner raced home with the go-ahead run and an 8-7 Ahoskie lead. Dakota Young then pinch-hit to put runners on the corners and Hunter delivered both runs for a 10-7 lead.

Rocky Mount’s chance of a rally died as the final batters flied out to end the game and complete the Ahoskie sweep.