Too Close For Comfort
May 12, 2012By Denis Vass of Graham High School
Not once. Not Twice. Three times. Three times Louisburg grabbed a lead. Three times, the Red Devils answered. The third time, with vengeance.
Trailing 4-2 batting in the bottom of the 6th inning, Graham (16-10) dug out an entire season's worth of experience, and batted around, exploding for five runs to subdue a scrappy Loouisburg team (13-9) by a 7-4 score.
Gray Ayscue struck first for the Warriors, belting a high fastball over the left field fence off of Graham starting pitcher Dillon Brown for a 1-0 lead the top of the fourth inning. Danny Routh nearly tumbled over the fence in an attempt to catch the ball.
Matt Holley led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, advanced to second on Justin Luck's groundout, to third on Taylor Perry's infield single, and scored on Logan Andrew's groundout to tie the game at 1-all.
Cooper Bolton led off the fifth with a single, and came home from third on a fly ball by Maurice Person to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead.
Danny Routh led off Graham's half of the fifth with a scorching double to the left field fence. He came around to score on Dominique Snipe's single to tie the game back up.
With Treston Earley pitching in the sixth, he quickly got two outs, striking out Christian Frazier and Gray Ayscue. Dusty Ayscue then drew a walk, then Nic Joyner, pinch running for Ayscue, scored on Joel Bendel's double in deep left centerfield. Bendel scored on Jacob Wood's single to make it 4-2 in favor of the Warriors. That set the stage for Graham's big sixth inning.
Justin Luck started the rally with a double. Taylor Perry struck out, but reached first on an error by Louisburg catcher Christian Frazier, who dropped the ball on the third strike, allowing Luck to advance to third. Logan Andrews then grounded out to short, driving in Luck. Treston Earley bopped a single up the middle, scoring Perry.
Louisburg coach Ivey Bolton switched cousins, Gray Ayscue for Dusty Ayscue on the mound. The move backfired as Danny Routh drew a four-pitch walk. Dillon Brown knocked in Earley, who had stole third, on a fielders choice at the plate. Dominique Snipes then bunted for a single to load the bases. Maurisio Mendoza burst the game open with a single, driving in Routh and Brown, as mayhem and jubilation erupted from the Graham fan base.
Earley got three easy outs in the seventh the slam the door shut, as Graham advanced to the second round in the State 2-A playoffs. Earley picked up the win in relief of Dillon Brown. Brown pitched 5 strong innings after missing the Conference Tournament, allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2.
Earley pitched 2 innings, allowed two runs on two hits, while striking out three.
Taylor Perry was 2-for-3 at the plate, while Treston Earley also was 2-for-3 with one RBI. Dominique Snipes was 3-for-4 and had one RBI. Logan Andrews picked up 2 RBI.
Graham banged out 11 hits, while holding the Warriors to five. It was Louisburg's third straight opening round loss in the state playoffs. The Red Devils posted their fifth straight win.
Graham travels to Bunn Tuesday May 15th to take on the top seed from the Northern Carollina Conference. The WIldcats tied North Johnson with a 11-3 record in the conference, and sport a 17-8 overall record.