Ahoskie falls, but wins

Published 10:09 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

AHOSKIE – For four innings Monday night, Ahoskie Post-102’s Junior American Legion team had Beaufort County Post-15 under their thumb.

Then the boys from Washington realized they too had a trigger-finger.

Beaufort County exploded for 12 runs on 10 hits in the top of the fifth inning and went on to post a 17-7 win over the home team.

However, it will be recorded as just a win on the field as Post-15’s junior team must forfeit the game to Ahoskie because of player ineligibility.

“I gave some boys a chance to pitch tonight that hadn’t had a chance to pitch,” said Ahoskie coach Wayne Hill, “because we have a must-win game coming up later against Edenton and I need my off-speed pitchers for that game especially since I knew this game didn’t matter.”

Joseph Eure led the Ahoskie attack, going 2-for-4, scoring twice and driving in a run. Jim Porter had two runs batted in and also scored a pair of runs.

After a walk and back-to-back base hits produced two runs for Beaufort County in the top of the first inning, Ahoskie struck back with three runs in the bottom of the second to take their first lead of the night.

With two outs, Eure slapped a fastball over the left-center field fence for the first Ahoskie run. Jacob Rose followed with a single and then Ahoskie got three straight base-on-balls to walk in Rose with the tying run. Simon Hoggard enticed the fourth walk of the inning that scored Jim Porter and Ahoskie had a 3-2 lead after two innings of play.

Beaufort County came back to retake the lead in the top of the third as with two men aboard, Bradley Slade slammed a triple to the right-center field wall for the go-ahead run. Though Slade was 90 feet away with another run, he was picked off in a quick double play and a fly-out ended the inning with Ahoskie trailing, 4-3.

Post-102 got the lead again in the bottom of the third when Patrick Dilday drew a one-out walk, went to second on Eure’s second safety of the game and then scored ahead of Eure on Porter’s two out-two RBI single for a 5-4 Ahoskie lead after three.

Beaufort County went in order in the top of the fourth, but in the bottom of the frame Simon Hoggard walked, advanced to third on back-to-back singles by Blake Hill and Braxton Sumner, then scored on a passed ball.

Ahoskie could’ve had more in the inning, but instead stranded three runners with just one out for the second time in the ball game and had to settle for a 6-4 lead after four.

And that’s when the wheels came off.

Beaufort County sent 17 men to the plate in the top of the fifth and went ahead, 7-6, before Ahoskie recorded its first out. Despite a trio of pitching changes in the inning, Beaufort County continued to slash away and each of their players scored with three players scoring twice to take a whopping, 16-6 lead.

Ahoskie tried to stave off early elimination with a run in the bottom of the frame, Porter walked, then scored his second run of the game on Chris Rogerson’s double to left field, but the home team’s deficit was still nine runs, 16-7.

Beaufort County made it a short night for both teams with an unearned run in the top of the sixth for the 10-run winning margin and the final.

“We’ll just try to keep the boys’ spirits up because when you face a team like that it was a no-win situation after that big outburst,” said coach Hill, “and we’ll also try to slip in a practice later this week.”

He added with a wink, “We need them to give it all they’ve got for the games that really count.”

Ahoskie hosted Edenton’s junior team on Wednesday and have a double-header at home Saturday against the Pitt County team from D.H. Conley.