First Posted: 5/19/2009
NORWOOD East Surry couldnt keep its late season momentum going on the road Tuesday, losing a tough second-round playoff match-up to South Stanly, 3-2.
Both teams entered Tuesdays matchup with 19 wins, a surprisingly strong second-round meeting, but after winning 10 of their last 12 games, the Rowdy Rebel Bull pitching duo of Ryan Poplin and Wes Hapley proved too much for the Cardinals bats to handle, with East managing just two hits in the loss.
South Stanly didnt exactly blast past the Cardinals however, picking up just five hits of their own.
Junior pitcher Troy Jessup picked up the loss for the Cardinals, just his second of the season.
East Surry coach Barry Hall said it is particularly tough to end a season losing a game by a close margin and having chances to win.
Anytime your season comes to an end early you are disappointed, Hall said. We had opportunities tonight and didnt take advantage of them. If you go out and play and get beat your last game and the team dominates you, there is not a whole lot you can do about it. But its frustrating when you have opportunities to win and you just dont come through.
While the Cardinals threatened in the top of the first with runners on first and second and tied the game twice, the tale of the tape came in the fourth inning, where East Surry missed opportunities and miscues allowed South Stanly too much breathing room and a path to the win.
The Cardinals tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth after Troy Jessup and Austin Tilley started the rally by picking up a pair of two-out walks.
Jessups courtesy runner Kyle Shinault then moved to third on a passed ball and was driven in by a Patrick Marion single to right field.
East couldnt keep things going however, leaving runners on first and third and opening the door for South Stanly.
After Jessup struck out the first batter he faced in the bottom of the fourth, he walked and then hit his next three batters to load the bases.
Souths Corey Henderson took advantage, slapping a grounder to shortstop Austin Tilley, who bobbled the ball and allowed South to score the go-ahead run.
The difference in the game was the fourth inning, Hall said. We didnt capitalize when we had first and third. We didnt go ahead when we had a chance and in the bottom of the inning we gave up a run without them getting a hit and thats a backbreaker. Tough to bounce back from that.
Hapley, who will play baseball at UNC-Charlotte next season, then stepped in to slam the door on the Cardinals hopes, striking out eight of nine batters he faced in the final three innings to seal the win.
It was two evenly matched teams, Hall said. We didnt execute and they did. We made some mental mistakes, we walked some people that hurt us and we didnt take advantage early.
With the loss East finishes the season 19-9.
South Stanly 3,
East Surry 2
East Surry 001 100 0 2 2 1
South Stanly 101 100 0 3 5 1
WP: Poplin; LP: Jessup (8-2)
2B: ES Brett Smith; SS Ryan Poplin