Post 102 slides by Edenton

Published 9:16 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

AHOSKIE – Right in the thick of it.

Ahoskie’s American Legion Post-102 junior American Legion baseball team picked up a key win Wednesday night at home – downing Edenton’s Post-40 junior team, 9-6.

Joseph Eure went six and a third innings to get the win on the mound while Blake Hill picked up the save. Eure gave up four runs – all in the third inning – on eight hits and struck out five. He also had fine defensive help from his teammates.

“I’ve seen him pitch all his life from the time he was nine years old,” said Ahoskie coach Wayne Hill, “and I knew he could give me six strong innings, especially in the fifth and sixth (innings).”

Every player in the Ahoskie lineup collected a base hit including six players getting two hits led by Patrick Dilday who went 2-for-4 with a homerun and three runs batted in. Chris Rogerson, Braxton Sumner, Jacob Rose, Tyler Burden and Simon Hoggard also were 2-for-4. Daniel Merritt was 1-for-4 and scored three runs.

‚ÄúThat’s what you want to see,” added Hill about the offensive output. “One man isn’t going to win the game for you. It takes everybody trying to pull everybody up and you can’t let one man be the center of attention.”

Ahoskie wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. With two outs and Merritt on base in the bottom of the first, Dilday sent a two-one fastball over the fence in left field for a 2-0 lead for Post-102 after one inning of play.

The home team came back to add to that score in the bottom of the second as, again with two outs, Burden sent a shot through the infield, but the shortstop’s throw was high and Burden scampered into scoring position at second base. Hoggard followed with a double to left field scoring Burden and staking Ahoskie to a 3-0 lead after two.

Edenton’s bats woke up in the top of the third inning as they sent eight men to the plate and scored four runs to take a 4-3 lead including two runs scoring on wild pitches.

It was that same score in the bottom of the fifth when Ahoskie exploded for five runs. Rogerson singled and Merritt drew a walk before Blake Hill, who had gone hitless to this point, slapped a shot into the gap in left-center field to score Rogerson with the tying run.

Dilday followed with his second safety of the game to score Merritt with the go-ahead run. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and Hill kept the inning alive by narrowly escaping a rundown on a pickoff play.

One out later, Eure’s single to center scored Hill and Dilday came home one batter later on a base hit to center by Rose. Burden moved Rose to third with a single that rolled to the wall in center before Hoggard delivered the final hit of the game to score Burden and give Ahoskie a 9-4 lead.

In the top of the seventh, Edenton got two runs with one out to cut the deficit to three, but with the bases loaded Ahoskie’s defense got a force-out before Hill got a routine flyball to right field to end the game and give Post-102 its fourth conference win of the season and seventh overall.

“One bad inning and that’s your ball game,” said Edenton coach Travis Lilly. “We had some kids missing because of the State Games and some sports camps, but we did a good job.”

“We’re not out of it yet,” he added with a grin, “but we split with Ahoskie 2-2 and gave away some games we should have won so don’t count us out.”

“It felt good to get this one,” said Hill, “because the sixth inning usually gives us trouble, but tonight we stayed focused. Now the game on Saturday could decide who wins the conference.”

Ahoskie will host the Pitt County team from Greenville D.H. Conley in a double-header Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.

“Everybody’s got a good team,” added Hill. “We’ve just got to pull it all together.”