North Brunswick rallies into spring break tournament final

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Trailing by two headed into the sixth, North Brunswick plated four runs on four hits and two errors against three different pitchers as the Scorpions rallied to beat Harrells Christian 7-5 to advance to the Touchstone Energy Beach Diamond Invitational Final in Shallotte.

The Scorpions improved to 8-4 overall, while the Crusaders fell to 6-2 on the year.

D.J. Perkins. Photos by Joe Catenacci
D.J. Perkins. Photos by Joe Catenacci

“Harrells swung the bats today and they have some good hitters,” said North Brunswick Coach Dustin Medlin. “They’re a good hitting ball club and Shelton [Perkins] was leaving the ball up early in the game. He didn’t have his best stuff today, but started finishing and locating around the knees and when he does that he’s tough to beat.”

East Carolina commit Shelton Perkins looked like a completely different pitcher after surrendering four runs on six hits over two innings of the work as the senior standout settled down to pick up the victory.

The two-run advantage was all Perkins needed to close out a bulldog effort on the mound as the right-handed hurler retired the side in order in the sixth and left the bases loaded in the seventh to close out the result. Perkins allowed five runs-four earned-on eight hits, with 10 strikeouts.

“There wasn’t much of an adjustment after the second inning it was more about staying down in the zone,” said Perkins. “It’s just about me throwing strikes and hitting my spots. My body feels great. Getting in a lot of workouts in after I pitch so it’s just about doing it when I’m on the mound.”

Spencer Cook set the table for Harrells Christain with a double and triple in the leadoff spot with two runs scored. He took the first offering from Perkins in the bottom of the first and sent it deep to left-center as the Crusaders jumped out in front 3-1 after one full inning of play.

Cooke scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Smith and two more runs came across before North Brunswick got one back in the top of the second.

Shelton Perkins.
Shelton Perkins.

With Harrells Christian leading 4-3 after two-plus innings, Perkins struck out the side in the bottom of the third and went on to retire the next five hitters in order before a two-walk in the fifth to Joseph Phaneuf. After an error at second kept the inning alive, Chase Bryant drove in Phaneuf on a hard hit ball to the right side.

In the top of the sixth, Cameron Fields and Trey Parrish both hit back-to-back singles to open the frame for North Brunswick and with Jaylan Perkins at the plate Fields stole home on a 3-1 pitch to ignite the Scorpions.

“It was a squeeze that we didn’t get down and the ball got just far enough from the catcher so we got lucky there,” said Medlin. “It’s not how we drew it up, but we just hope to build off this tomorrow night and just really fortunate to have this tournament to get our guys some at-bats against quality pitching.”

Perkins walked to put runners on the corners and Jaheed Cason tied the game at five with an RBI ground out. Cason finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs and two runs scored.

Jacob Watson then singled to keep the inning going and Shelton Perkins closed the four run rally with an RBI double off the foot of the wall in left-center.

“We want to win this tournament, but we just want to make sure we come out and play the game the right way and see where the chips may fall,” said Perkins.

Perkins, D.J. Perkins, Watson and Fields all finished with two hits apiece for the Scorpions, who play West Brunswick in the tournament finals at 7 p.m. Wednesday at West Brunswick High School.

Box score                      R H E

North      111  003  0     7   10  1

Harrells  310   010  0     5    7   7