Edenton wins inaugural Legion Memorial

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, May 28, 2013

AHOSKIE – He wasn’t supposed to be a curve-ball hitter.

Instead, former Lawrence Academy slugger J.B. Williams got a hold of one Sunday, rocked back on his heels, and unleashed a monster swing.

The ball landed over the fence for a two-run home run.

That 6th inning dinger proved to be the game-winner as Edenton Post-40 won the inaugural American Legion Memorial Baseball Tournament, 10-9, over Windsor Post-37 in Sunday’s championship game at Hertford County High School Field.

Nathaniel Simpson paced Edenton, going three-for-four and driving in three runs. Evan Phillips drove in a pair as did Williams with his two-run shot. Single RBI’s came off the bats of Alan Tynch, Nate Gardner, and Darren Armstrong.

Armstrong, who picked up the pitching win in Saturday’s 13-0 shutout opener against Ahoskie and assisted with 14 put-outs over the next two games with his defense at first base, was named Most-Valuable-Player for the tournament.

“This is just a great group of guys,” said Edenton coach Bob Jordan. “You never know how kids are going to play starting out but I thought we played well from the start all weekend.”

Brandon Marsh, a former Northside High product from Belhaven, and currently at the College of the Albemarle, went three-for-three with a two-run home run for Windsor and drove in three runs. Caleb Sherman drove in two more runs for Post-37 while Terrence Jackson, Matthew Wisniewski, and Jordan Rogers had the other RBI’s.

Kyle Spruill got the win on the mound for Edenton while Alan Tynch picked up the save.  Rogers took the hard-luck loss for Windsor.

Edenton won its first two games by a combined score of 26-1 found itself in a dogfight in the title tilt.

“I told their coach he ought to be proud of his kids for the way they fought,” Jordan added. “They kept scrapping back and they made it interesting to the end.”

“Not as good as it could have ended,” shrugged Windsor coach Wayne Hill with a wry smile. “Next time we see them, it might be a different story.”

Yes, this is just the first weekend, no one’s played a conference game, and it’s already shaping up to be an interesting Legion season.

Windsor made it interesting by being the first team to score more than a single run on Post-40 when they picked up the first two runs of the game.  Jackson, Sherman and Wisniewski hit back-to-back-to-back two-out base hits in the first inning to load the bases before Marsh drew a walk for the first run and Sherman scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 Windsor lead.

Edenton got one run back in the bottom of the first and then put up five more in the top of the second with Phillips’ double driving in a pair as an error, a walk, and a hit batsman became costly for Post-37. After two complete innings, Edenton led it 6-2.

Windsor came back, though, in the top of the third. Will Gurganus singled to left field, was sacrificed to second base but kept running when no one was covering third. Sherman’s base hit to left scored him to halve the score to 6-3.

Wisniewski singled in Sherman to make it 6-4 and the next batter, Marsh, then rocketed a knuckle-curve ball over the wall in right field for a two-run shot and a 6-all tie score.

Edenton re-took the lead in the bottom of the third on Armstrong’s solo home run to deep center field.

The two teams traded runs in the fourth. Sherman drove in Ryan Lilley for Windsor’s score, tying the game at 7-7; but Edenton went back in front when Cole Bray doubled and Simpson drove him in with his third RBI of the game and an 8-7 lead for Post-40.

In the top of the sixth, back came Windsor when Lilley got a base-hit to right field, stole second, and scored on Jackson’s double in center field to tie it at 8-8.

With the bottom of the frame came a pitching change for Windsor. After Simpson reached with a bloop single to right, up stepped Williams – who had gone 1-7 in two games up to that point – and cracked what looked like the game winner over the wall.

Windsor still didn’t relent. Down two runs, Post-37 opened the top of the seventh with Marsh doubling to left field. One-out later Rogers drove him in with a two-bagger of his own to almost the same spot on the field and it was 10-9, silencing the Edenton crowd.

But coach Jordan brought on Tynch, who got back-to-back strikeouts, and Edenton was hoisting the trophy as the Memorial’s first-ever winner.

“I know a start don’t a finish,” said Jordan, “but we’ve got a good group here and we’re looking forward to it.

After this weekend, so too are a lot of Roanoke-Chowan area baseball fans.

Windsor’s next game is June 3rd at their Bertie High School home field against Rocky Mount at 7 p.m.