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ROCKY MOUNT OUTLASTS EAST ROWAN TO WIN DECISIVE GAME IN 3-A
ZEBULON – Chris Berry had three hits and four runs batted in as Rocky Mount outlasted East Rowan by an 8-6 score in the decisive third game of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A baseball championship series on Saturday at Five County Stadium.
Berry had two doubles as Rocky Mount won its fifth NCHSAA state baseball championship in history, but first since 1980 as the Gryphons finished the year 27-6 overall. Brian Goodwin of the Gryphons, who tripled in two official trips, scored three times and was intentionally passed twice in the decisive game, was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series.
Rocky Mount led 2-1 after one inning and then the Gryphons erupted for four runs in the second to take command. Dillon Cockrell started the rally with a double and scored on a single by Gabe Brown. Then after an intentional walk, Chris Berry delivered a two-run double and then Ben Fish, the school’s single-season RBI record holder, doubled home a run to open up a 6-1 lead.
East cut it to 6-3 in the third on a pair of sacrifice flies by Zach Smith and Micah Jarrett, but Rocky Mount answered with two more runs in the fourth. Goodwin tripled off the center field wall and scored on a single by Berry, and later Berry came around after a hit batter, fielder’s choice and a wild pitch to make it 8-3.
But the Mustangs were not through, tallying three in the home half of the sixth to slice the margin to 8-6, chasing Gryphon starter Benton Ross. Austin Shull had a double for an RBI in the inning, which also included runs scoring on an error and a fielder’s choice.
Justin Roland collected two hits in four at bats, including a double and a triple, for East while Shull and Noah Holmes also had two hits apiece.
East Rowan had forced the third and decisive game earlier on Saturday as Jarrett went three for four at the plate to lead the Mustangs to a 6-2 victory in game two. East scored three in the first inning and held the Gryphons at bay as Justin Roland earned the pitching win. William Barringer had three hits in four at-bats for Rocky Mount and Grant Johnson was two for three in game two.
Rocky Mount had opened the series with a 7-4 victory on Friday night, with Jim Leggett going the distance on the mound for the victory for his eighth victory of the year, allowing just three hits.
East Rowan was back in the finals for the first time since 1995 and ended the year 29-5.
The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are serving as host city sponsors for this championship series. Wendy’s and the Carolina Ford Dealers are the presenting sponsors of the NCHSAA sports program.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
STATE 3-A BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES—GAME THREE
Five County Stadium, Zebulon
Rocky Mount 2 4 0 2 0 0 0—8 10 2
East Rowan 1 0 2 0 0 3 0—6 7 1
WP—Benton Moss. Save—Nick Huhula. LP—Cody Laws.