Juniors gain split

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

AHOSKIE – Ahoskie’s Post-102 American Legion junior baseball team closed out their home season Saturday splitting a double-header with Area-One West division-winner, Oxford, as they won the first game, 12-7, but dropped the second contest, 7-5.

More importantly for the team, headed into the area eastern Juniors playoffs in Wilson later this week, they’ve recaptured their hitting touch.

Shortstop John Hunter finished the two games going 5-for-7, driving in four runs thanks to three doubles and a home run. Austin Cooke also had a pair of doubles and Edward Joyner, Zeek Williams and David Brackett drove in two runs each.

Ahoskie jumped out 5-0 on Oxford pitcher Ryan Allen early; batting around by sending 13 batters to the plate in the first inning and putting up a total of eight runs on eight hits.

Travis Ellis opened the bottom of the first with a single, stole second base and came home with the first Ahoskie run thanks to a Cooke double. Hunter followed with his first double before Joyner singled in a run.

After Patrick Dilday drew a walk, Williams singled to deliver two more runs while Brackett’s base hit brought home Dilday. Dakota Young then hit a short grounder toward the mound but the Oxford catcher fielded the ball and threw wildly to first, allowing two more runs to score.

Two outs later Cooke got his second hit of the inning to drive in Young and Ahoskie had an 8-0 lead.

 Ahoskie got two more runs in the second and sixth innings to help starting pitcher Williams to his first win of the season and the five-run margin of victory.

Ahoskie trailed 2-0 in the second game in the bottom of the third when Ellis led off with a walk.  Cooke then beat out a base hit, but the Oxford first baseman bobbled the ball on the play allowing Ellis to score and Cooke to reach second. Cooke came home on Hunter’s home-run over the wall in right-field and gave Ahoskie a 3-2 lead. 

Oxford came back and scored four runs in the top of the fourth to re-take the lead, and was ahead, 7-3, before Ahoskie mounted a rally in the bottom of the sixth.

With one out, Ellis singled, moved to third on Cooke’s double and came home on Hunter’s sacrifice fly. Cooke, who advanced on the fly-out, came home on a balk call on the Oxford pitcher to cut the lead to two runs, but Ahoskie could manage no more and ended up taking the split.

&uot;We beat this team twice this year,&uot; said Post 102 coach David Ellis, nodding toward the Oxford dugout, &uot;and those guys won 26 games this year.

&uot;We didn’t play great, but we played pretty good,&uot; he added.  &uot;We hit the ball better and I was really glad to see that.&uot;

Ahoskie finishes their regular season at 14-10 overall and 6-5 in Area-One East. 

Their season continues with the three-day playoffs beginning this Friday in Wilson with Post-102 facing either the host team or Rocky Mount. 

Should Ahoskie finish first or second in the playoffs, the top two teams after Sunday will advance to meet the top two teams from Area-One West.