Having outscored its two postseason opponents 20-0, the West Brunswick baseball team continued its run through 3A competition on Tuesday night as the Trojans cruised to a 14-4 victory over No. 7 Rockingham County in Shallotte.
With its third straight mercy rule result, West Brunswick moved to 24-2 overall. The Cougars saw their season come to an end with a 20-8 mark after making the four-hour bus ride from outside the Winston-Salem area.
“I’m real proud of the way we’ve been swinging the bats over the last three games,” said West Brunswick Coach T.J. Spivey. “I especially liked our two-strike approach tonight. When you’ve got your eight and nine hitters swinging the bat like we’ve been, you’re going to be pretty tough to beat.”
After surrendering their first run of the playoffs on two hits in the top of the first, the Trojans took advantage of four walks in the bottom of the frame to grab a 2-1 lead. Tyler Stanley and Hunter Ashburn earned a pair of free passes with two quality at-bats, while Zack Johnson plated the home team’s first run on an RBI ground out. Ashburn gave the Trojans the edge by sliding in ahead of the tag at the plate off a wild pitch.
For the second consecutive game, Stanley keyed the offense in the lead-off spot. The Elon University commit finished 2-for-2 at the plate, with two runs scored and three runs batted in. Freshman third baseman Dylan Jeffries also rounded out a big effort up and down the lineup with three hits and two runs scored in the nine spot.
With the 2-1 advantage, Jonathan Carlyle lined a double the other way in the third to score Tyler McDuffie all the way from first base. The Trojans then put the game away in the fourth by sending 12 hitters to the plate. The eight-run rally was aided by a Johnson two-run triple and Stanley’s bases clearing three-run double to left-center during his second at-bat of the inning. Carlyle and Jeffries reached base in all four plate appearances, while Jeffries ended the ball game with a 3 RBI double to the gap in left-center.
“Once we get going, we can swing it and like to be aggressive on the bases,” said Johnson. “We’re just taking it one game at a time. One inning at a time and looking for good things to happen.”
Defensively, West Brunswick overcame two errors in the second when Ashburn threw out a runner at second on a stolen base attempt for the final out of the frame. Stanley also chased down a deep fly ball to center for the third out in the third to leave two runners on base.
During the current three-game playoff run, West Brunswick has 34 runs scored, 10 extra base hits and 13 stolen bases.
Listed as a two-seed in this year’s 3A North Carolina High School Athletic Association bracket, the Trojans will be back at home for the fourth round of the tournament against the winner of No. 19 Corinth Holders/No. 11 Northern Guilford on Friday, May 20.
“I told the guys tonight that the 34 runs we’ve scored in the three playoff games don’t matter right now,” Spivey said. “One good arm can change everything and next thing you know you’re playing in a 2-1 game to decide your season. We’re staying committed to getting one percent better each day and look forward to Friday.”
Box score R H E
Rockingham 100 030 4 5 0
W. Brunswick 201 803 14 10 3
WP: Kevin Powers LP: Jehu Zarate