13-year streak ends
MERRY HILL – Lawrence Academy lost the lead late and Northeast Academy capitalized here Monday afternoon. The result was a 10-3 victory by the Eagles over their bitter rivals for the first time in 13 years.
“Yeah, I can’t remember how long it’s been,” chuckled NEA coach Billy-Boy Bridgers afterward. “The boys played really well, especially on defense. I got five good innings out of Ryan and L.J. came in and shut ‘em down. This was a big win for us.”
The Eagles got on the board first when Ryan Rowe reached on an error, stole second, went to third on another error, and scored when Jarroh Jonos reached on a fielder’s choice. 1-0, Northeast led.
Lawrence took the lead with a pair of runs off NEA pitcher Rowe in the bottom of the first inning. Sawyer Mizelle opened with a base hit to left and scored when the next batter, Charles Atkins, doubled to almost the same spot. Atkins scored on a passed ball with the bases loaded for a 2-1 lead for the Warriors.
In Lawrence’s half of the third inning, Evan Swain singled, stole second, was sacrificed to third, and scored on Dylan Harrell’s groundout for a 3-1 Warrior advantage.
The big inning for the Eagles came in the fifth when Northeast loaded the bases and Kevin Taylor’s pop fly dropped in for an RBI, scoring J.T. Simmons. Jonos followed and on a 1-0 count, ripped a line drive to centerfield scoring a pair and giving Northeast back the lead, 4-3. The Eagles’ fourth run came on an error and NEA led it 5-3.
Northeast blew the game open in the top of the seventh when the Eagles batted around and put a five-spot up on the board. The big blow was driven thanks to singles by Simmons and Rowe and an error on balls put in play by Jonos and Noah Lassiter.
In the bottom of the seventh, Joe “Cheese” White singled with two out, but a fly ball out ended the Warriors last chance and the Eagles had one of their biggest wins in years.
Lawrence lost despite edging out Northeast at the plate, seven hits to six. Atkins led the Warriors at the dish collecting two hits in four at bats. But LAW also committed eight errors.
Rowe toed the rubber for Northeast and picked up the win. He allowed three runs on six hits over five innings with six strikeouts. He also went 2-for-5 at the plate to lead Northeast in batting. Taylor and Jonos drove in two runs apiece.
Sawyer Mizelle opened on the hill for Lawrence. He threw no-hit ball over four innings, but did give up a run. He also struck out two and walked one. Evan Swain came on in relief and was saddled with the loss, giving up five runs, three of them earned, on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Tayloe Powell also pitched an inning in relief.
The win vaulted the Eagles into first-place in the Tarheel Independent Conference at 4-0 while Lawrence falls to 2-1 in league play. Northeast returns home to host Hobgood on Thursday while Lawrence hits the road, same day, to face Albemarle.