Eagles, Griffins Break Even

RWA Mends After Monday Mauling

RWA shortstop Cameron Cooper swipes a late tag at FC’s Chris Boyd during the Griffins’ 14-0 rout of the Eagles Monday. (Photo/Ross Burton)

RWA shortstop Cameron Cooper swipes a late tag at FC’s Chris Boyd during the Griffins’ 14-0 rout of the Eagles Monday. (Photo/Ross Burton)

WINNSBORO – What a difference a day makes. A mere 24 hours after Fairfield Central hammered Richard Winn Academy 14-0 in Monday’s game one of the crosstown spring break rivalry, the Eagles bounced back off the matt to nip the Griffins 5-2 at RWA Tuesday afternoon.

“I let that game get away from us,” Griffin head coach Scotty Dean said. “Hats off to those guys (RWA). They hung in there. They struggled to put it in play and then they put it in play when they needed to. They’re well-coached. They do things right.”

The Eagles had to overcome a 3-0 deficit Tuesday and a masterful performance by Fairfield Central junior Lane Floyd, who was perfect through three innings and was dealing a one-hit shutout after four. Matt Taylor’s leadoff single to start the fourth did no damage as Taylor was picked off heading to second, leaving the Griffin southpaw with the minimum number of batters faced after four and only 29 pitches thrown.

But in the fifth, Eagle catcher Chris Christianson broke the spell with a leadoff double and the Griffins began to come unraveled.

“Their guy was pitching very well,” RWA head coach Al Berry said. “That’s the first left-hander we’ve seen this year. It’s hard for us to prepare for that and our guys did a good job of eventually going with the pitch. We were trying to pull everything early because we haven’t prepared for that.”

Coker Gilbert followed Christianson with a walk, but it looked as if they would be stranded on the pond as Floyd retired John Coleman on a grounder to short and Tyler Douglas flied out to center.

“(Floyd) had been rolling good and I’m thinking we can get out of that inning,” Dean said. “We should have got out of that inning without giving up a run. But that’s baseball for you, though. As good as we played yesterday and as good as we played today through four innings, then baseball happens. One error, then you got a 3-2 baseball game.”

The error came on a routine ground ball off the bat of Mitchell Gibbons. Vincent Beaver scooped the ball up at short and threw the ball well beyond the reach of the Griffin first baseman, allowing both Christianson and Gilbert to cross the plate and landing Gibbons on second.

“Vincent beaver is a good baseball player,” Dean said, “but (Gibbons) hits that ball and I have no idea how it winds up out there at that dadgum gate over there.”

Floyd never recovered his mojo, giving up a two-out, two-strike RBI double to Blake Pauley to tie the game and an RBI double to Taylor to hand over the lead. Stanley McManus came on to retire Conrad Sharpe with an unassisted putout to end the inning, but the damage was done.

“The wheels fell off in that fifth inning,” Dean said. “And that’s the history of this baseball program. When we do it good, we’re as good as anybody we’re going to play. When we do it bad, we do it worse than anybody we play.”

The Eagles added an insurance run off McManus in the bottom of the sixth when Gilbert scored from third on a delayed double steal.

Gilbert, who was 1-for-2 at the plate, scoring a pair of runs, went all seven on the mound for the Eagles, earning the win. Gilbert overcame a shaky start and a bumpy middle, waiting for the Richard Winn bats to come to life.

Byron Sampson led off the game by drawing a five-pitch walk and went to second when Beaver grounded out to third. McManus was then hit by the second pitch he saw from Gilbert, and Gilbert’s pick-off throw to first went awry, sending McManus to third and scoring Sampson. The Griffins appeared poised to hang a big first-inning on Gilbert, but the Eagle righty struck out Chris Boyd and induced a groundout from Akeem Foster to wriggle out of the net.

Gilbert retired the side in order in the second, then got out of another jam in the third, stranding Dalton Truesdale at third.

“That’s about how our season’s been so far,” Dean said. “We get people in scoring position. That’s about the epitome of our season.”

The Griffins rattled the cage a little in the fourth with Markell Whitaker raking a two-out, two-strike RBI double down the left field line, driving in Boyd, who had led off the frame with a single. Antonio Jackson then delivered an RBI single, driving Whitaker around.

It would be the last of the Griffin offense for the afternoon as Gilbert, who threw 53 strikes and 20 balls, retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth, then put the game away in the seventh after giving up a leadoff single to Truesdale.

“(Gilbert) kept his pitch count down and gave us the first complete game of the season,” Berry said. “We played good defense behind him, which helps. Yesterday we didn’t play good defense.”

FC: 1-0-0 2-0-0 0 – 3-5-2

RW: 0-0-0 0-4-1 x – 5-5-4

Pitching: RW—Coker Gilbert (W), 7IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 7K, 2HB, 29TBF, 73TP. FC—Lane Floyd (L), 4.2IP, 4H, 4R, 2ER, 1BB, 2K, 19TBF, 54TP. S. McManus, 1.1IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 2K, 6TBF, 22TP.

Hitting: 2B—Matt Taylor, C. Christianson, B. Pauley (RW); M. Whitaker (FC). RBI—M. Taylor, B. Pauley (RW); M. Whitaker, A. Jackson (FC).

LOB: FC—4, RW—2.

 

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