Aaron Beasley didn’t show his age in leading Voyager Academy to a 3-1 hard-fought win over Tarboro Friday night in the second round of the NCHSAA 1A championships.
The sophomore relieved starting pitcher Collin Faucette midway the fifth inning with one out, two on base and the game tied at one apiece. Faucette struck out the next two batters to pull the Vikings (16-4) out of trouble before turning around and putting Tarboro into the hot box.
After getting a walk in the bottom of the inning, teammate Michael Jones stole second and advanced to third on a mishandled pitch. That was enough to send Tarboro starting pitcher Chris Brown to the sidelines.
But relief pitcher Dillon Johnson walked Chase Sykes, which set up Beasley’s heroics with a double up center field that sent in both runners. Not even getting called out at third later could dim Beasley’s enthusiasm.
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“It felt good,” he said. “It was a fastball inside and that’s what I was looking for. It was a timely hit.”
Beasley got out the side in both the sixth and seventh innings to seal the win. He finished with six strikeouts in 2 1/2 innings.
“Collin pitched a great game, but with two men on base in the fifth inning, I felt a change was needed,” Voyager coach Pete Shankle said. “You’ve got to bring in your best pitcher in that situation.”
After getting rocked with three hits and a run in the first inning, Faucette settled down to strike out nine.
Tarboro (12-14) held the one-run margin till the third. Kamayu Neighbors got the rally started with a single. He stole second and later advanced to third on a wild pitch.
After Jones grounded out, Chase Sykes smacked a single up the middle to tie the score.
“We knew we had to do some things differently tonight against such a good team,” said Shankle, whose team defeated KIPP Pride 25-0 Tuesday. “We started a little out of sync, but give credit to their pitching.”