Warriors claim TIC crown

Published 8:51 am Monday, May 7, 2012

AHOSKIE — A game that was tight for the first four innings saw the number one seed Warriors of Lawrence Academy finally put away the number two seed Northeast Eagles in six innings here Friday to claim the championship of the Tarheel Independent Conference.

After a scoreless first inning, Northeast got on the board scoring one run in the top of the second.  With one out, Brad Johnson doubled to right-center field.  After a stolen base and infield pop-up, Justin Williford delivered a two-out single to score Johnson.

The 1-0 Eagle lead was short lived as Warrior starting pitcher Darren Armstrong delivered a one-out homerun over the 328-foot sign in right center field deadlocking the score at 1-1.

Armstrong shut down the Eagles in the top of the third and the Warriors were able to capitalize on an Eagle error, a single by Ryan Lilley, a couple of stolen bases, and a fielder’s choice to score a couple of unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning leaving the Warriors with a 3-1 lead after three.

Zack Eubanks, who was 3-for-3 on the day, led off the bottom of the fourth with a double. He scored on a one-out single by Perry Wynns giving the Warriors a 4-1 lead at the end of four innings.

The Eagles still could not get the bats going in the top of the fifth against Armstrong.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Warriors took a commanding lead as they pushed across four runs on three hits.

Lilley led off for the Warriors and reached on an error. Following a steal of second by Lilley and a strike out, Cody Ambrose doubled to left center scoring Lilley. Armstrong followed with another double scoring Ambrose.

Then the big first baseman, Eubanks came to the plate and delivered a two-run homerun to left center clearing the bases.

When asked later about his 3-for-3, two-RBI performance, he said, “It feels good, but I like winning the tournament better.”

The inning ended with Lawrence holding an 8-1 lead.

The sixth saw Armstrong dealing as the Eagles could muster nothing to cut into the Warrior lead.

The game ended as the Warriors scored three times in the bottom of the sixth before an out was recorded.  Robert Thompson led off with a double.  Ryan Lilley drew a walk.  Jim Porter then delivered a two run double taking third on the throw home.  He then scored on an Ambrose single ending the game as the Warriors claimed the 11-1 victory.

Lawrence coach Robert Kravitz called it a good win.

“We played good with solid defense and good pitching,” he said. “We hope to maintain that as we move into state playoffs.”

The Warriors, four-time defending state champions, will be headed to the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association. Northeast Academy will wait for an at-large bid to the finals.