Southampton Academy wins Tarboro Easter Classic

Published 10:46 am Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sophomore Tyler Dodson looks to get a hit. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Sophomore Tyler Dodson looks to get a hit. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Southampton Academy opened the Tarboro Classic Tournament on April 8 with a hard-fought loss to a good Bertie County, North Carolina, high school team.

Bertie opened the game with one run in the first inning. That run held up until a third inning RBI by the Raiders’ Paul Parker. Southampton plated a second run in the fifth inning. The game was halted for a day at this point due to weather. Once resumed on Thursday, Bertie jumped out and scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Raiders never mounted another rally, falling 4-2 for the first loss of the season.

“The delay just took us out of our groove — we were not really sharp after that,” Raiders head coach Tim Nixon said. “But it was 4-2. It was a good baseball game, and Bertie is a very good team.”

Finding out how the academy would respond to a loss was a big concern. That concern was answered in the first inning against Lawrence Academy when Andrew Lowe, Jack Smith and Matt Rose had big hits to move to a 4-0 lead. That lead would hold for a 4-0 win against Lawrence. Lowe allowed two hits, struck out 14, and moved his record to a then 4-0.

“Andrew Lowe pitched a heck of a game,” Nixon said. “He won that one for us.”

The Lawrence win moved the Raiders to the Championship game, which was a rematch against Bertie County. Southampton Academy fell behind 1-0 after four innings of play. But in the top of the fifth the Raiders exploded for four runs with big hits coming from Lowe and Rose. Bertie was not finished, though, as they answered with two runs in the bottom of that inning, tightening the score to 4-3. Strong pitching, stellar defense and a strong will to win by the academy kept Bertie at bay. The Raiders won 4-3 with Brynner Porter picking up the win, moving his record to 5-0 and clinching the Tournament title.

“It was a well-played game on both sides,” Nixon said. “There were very few errors. It was just two very good teams going at it.”

On April 13, SA moved on with a 12-1 win against Peninsula Catholic in Hampton. Matt Rose was the winning pitcher.

“We scored all 12 runs in the first two innings,” Nixon said. “That just kind of set the pace and got everyone involved.”

Nixon said Peninsula Catholic is a Div. II team, and he added that they are a better team than the score suggests.

“They had just come off of their spring break, and it was just a totally flat effort on their part,” the coach said. “We had just come out of our tournament, and we showed up and they just didn’t.”