Post 102 splits with Pitt County

Published 8:51 am Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AHOSKIE – Keep piling up the ‘W’s.

Ahoskie’s Post-102 American Legion Junior baseball team continues to roll through their conference schedule. Saturday’s 7-1 win in the first game of a double-header with the D.H. Conley junior Legion team avenged an earlier one-run (11-10), loss in Greenville and left Ahoskie with a 5-2 record and atop the league standings.

Conley came back to reclaim the non-conference nightcap, however, 10-1.

Blake Hill went the distance in the game-one winner twirling a two-hitter with three strikeouts and surrendering an unearned run. Hill was also outstanding at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a homerun and driving in three runs while scoring twice.

“Blake worked on his pitching this week,” said Ahoskie coach Wayne Hill. “He was a little rusty, but he did a good job of finding the strike zone and he had some real good defense behind him.”

Patrick Dilday had the other multi-hit game as he went 2-for-4 while Braxton Sumner and Daniel Merritt had two RBI’s each.

Sixteen-year-old left-hander Monte Hardy started for Conley and despite striking out eight of the first 14 batters he faced, including five-in-a-row, was saddled with the loss.

Conley scored first in the top of the third inning thanks to a pair of Ahoskie errors and a sacrifice that produced a 1-0 lead.

Ahoskie came back in the bottom of the frame with a pair of runs to take the lead for good. Chris Rogerson reached on a one-out base-on-balls and advanced to second on Hill’s base hit. The next batter, Sumner, then sent a rocket into the gap in left-center field that scored both runs and gave Ahoskie a 2-1 advantage.

The home team then chased Hardy in the bottom of the fourth when a walk, a base hit, and a groundout put runners on second and third for Hill, who launched a Hardy slider over the left field wall to plate three more and give Ahoskie a 5-1 bulge.

Ahoskie got their final two runs in the bottom of the fifth when Simon Hoggard legged out a blooper into shallow right field. Tyler Burden followed with a double down the left field line that moved Hoggard to third. Merritt then drove a two-one fastball to the wall in left-center and both runs scored to make for the final margin of 7-1.

Conley put a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the seventh, but Hill tightened down and got a ground-out, a fly ball and a liner to third to escape the trouble and get the complete game win.

“Blake Hill is something when he’s on,” said Conley coach Jim Pearce. “He kept us off-balance all game so that we just couldn’t figure him out and then again his bat put a little dent in us, too.”

“This was a real big win for us,” said Hill. “We were prepared for this one and now with Tarboro coming up next month we’ve got a real good chance to win the conference.

The second game was a different story for the home team. Conley sent 10 men to the plate and scored six runs off a trio of Ahoskie hurlers in the first inning and never looked back.

Ahoskie got their lone run in the bottom of the first when Rogerson walked and scored later on a wild pitch. The loss left them with an overall record of 8-5.

“The younger boys needed to see that higher competition to learn and get some experience,” said Hill. “That’s really what it’s all about.

“But we learned a lot today,” he added, “and that’ll help us down the road.”

The Post-103 juniors have just one game this week; tonight (Tuesday) in Williamston. They return to Hertford County High Field Sunday with a double-header against Rocky Mount.