Ahoskie finishes third in State Tournament

Published 11:04 am Thursday, July 20, 2017

MOCKSVILLE – They gave it their all, but simply ran short in the end.

Meeting undefeated South Caldwell in the semifinals of the 2017 Junior American Legion State Tournament here Monday, Ahoskie Post 102 fell by a 13-8 score. However, with heads held high, the Ahoskie squad advanced further in the statewide event than any previous Post 102 team.

“I feel certain that we turned a lot of heads here with the way we played,” said Post 102 head coach David Ellis.

Trevor Lee of Post 102 prepares to dig in at the plate during the 2017 Junior American Legion State Tournament held in Mocksville. | Contributed Photos

“We made believers out of everybody; the difference was having to face these teams like South Caldwell and Concord whose players come from larger high schools and they are very, very talented ballplayers. Between South Caldwell and Concord, they had a combined 55-5 record.”

South Caldwell, the home of Major Leaguer Madison Bumgarner, went on to defeat Concord, 4-2, in Tuesday’s state championship game.

In their Monday clash with the eventual state champs, Ahoskie did something no one else had done vs. South Caldwell all season long – hold a lead.

Post 102 opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first. Tyrek Beverly walks and goes to second on a Trent Hobbs sacrifice bunt. Trevor Lee walks. Both advance to second and third on a balk. Beverly and Lee score on a Ryan Rowe two-run double. Ahoskie leads 2-0 going to the bottom of the first.

South Caldwell scores four runs in the bottom of the first and lead 4-2 after one inning. South Caldwell scores one run in the bottom of the third and lead 5-2 after three innings.

South Caldwell breaks the game open with five runs in the bottom of the fourth and leads 10-2 after four innings.

However, Ahoskie refused to surrender.

In the top of the fifth, Hunter Mitchell singles, Parker Bradley walks and Beverly walks to load the bases. Mitchell and Bradley score on a Hobbs two run single. Beverly scores on a passed ball as Post 102 closed to within 10-5.

After South Caldwell got two of those runs back in their half of the fifth inning to make it a 12-5 game, Ahoskie once again put on their rally caps.

Post 102 pushed across three runs in the top of the sixth to pull within 12-8. Evan Lassiter walks, Mitchell is hit by a pitch, and Jordan Robinson walks to load the bases. Beverly has a RBI groundout and Hobbs slapped another two run single.

South Caldwell scores one run in the bottom of the sixth and lead 13-8 after six innings.

Ahoskie does not score in the top of the seventh to end the game.

Ahoskie has five hits. Hobbs has two hits and four RBI’s to lead Post 102. Spencer Simonowich, Rowe, and Mitchell have one hit each.

Ahoskie catcher Ryan Rowe looks towards the dugout for a sign as Post 102 competes in the state tournament. The local team – consisting of players from Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties – posted a 2-2 record at the statewide event and finished third out of eight teams.

Ethan Hughson and Hobbs pitch for Ahoskie.

“We hung right with them,” said Ellis. “We had chances to score more runs. We were short on pitching, but we did play great defense.

“We had a great year. We got a lot of kudos from the people here. We have nothing to hang our heads about,” Ellis concluded.

Ahoskie finishes the season with a 14-13 overall record and third in the state.