Eagles nip Warriors in championship opener

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WILSON – A two-out walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth proved to be the difference.

That base-hit provided a thrilling 4-3 extra-inning finish for The Oakwood School over Lawrence Academy in game-one of the best-of-three NC Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A baseball championship played at historic Fleming Stadium here Friday afternoon.

The two teams entered the title tilt as the number one and two seeds in the tournament.

Lawrence got on the scoreboard first with a run in the top of the third inning. Bryant Goodwin smacked a single up the middle to produce the first run of the game as courtesy runner Austin Wynne crossed the plate and the Warriors led it 1-0 after two-and-a-half innings.

Oakwood came back to take the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning – two runs scoring on Lawrence errors. That made it 3-1, Eagles, after four complete innings of baseball.

Oakwood starter Austin Goins had held the Warrior bats in check through six innings, with Goodwin’s lone base-hit the only safety of the game for Lawrence.

But in the seventh inning Lawrence finally got to the sophomore right-hander. Tyler Jones drew a walk and moved to third on Jarrett Harrell’s single to left field put Warriors on the corners and chased Goins for touted lefthander Zarion Sharpe. Slade Cowan greeted Sharpe by ripping a fastball up the middle that scored Jones to make it a one-run game at 3-2, as Harrell was held at third. Miller Trowell then sent another shot up the middle that was misplayed for an Oakwood error, and allowed Harrell to score the tying run. Oakwood couldn’t answer in the bottom of the inning and the game was headed to extra innings knotted at three runs apiece.

With one out, Sharpe gave way to Blake Owens in the top of the ninth, and while Lawrence got a runner to third, they could not get the run in and so it remained tied headed to the bottom of the inning.

Tyler Jones came on in relief of Harrell, who started for Lawrence, in the bottom portion of the ninth and surrendered a walk to Goins and a single to Sharpe. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position. Jones got the next two outs before facing Jordan Atkinson, who fouled off several pitches before smacking a base-hit into left for the game-winner and a 1-0 lead for Oakwood in the series.

Goodwin, Slade Cowan, and Harrell were one-for-three for Lawrence’s only hits of the game. Harrell went eight innings, allowing three runs on three hits. Jones pitched two-thirds of an inning and took the loss.

The loss snapped a nine-game win streak for Lawrence dating back to the middle of April.

Game-two in the best-of-three followed after a 45 minute break.