Two of the top baseball programs in the state over the past few decades squared off in the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A baseball playoffs Thursday night at Guy Smith Stadium and it was the 17-seed host J.H. Rose that eaked out a 2-1 win over 24-seed Fuquay-Varina.
Rose (18-7) will have a quick turn around, traveling to 2-seed Green Hope for a game Friday night with a chance to advance to the East Championship best-of-3 series next week.
Fuquay (15-12) starter Trent Siebert pitched three innings and left trailing 2-0. In the second he gave up a run after two walks, a balk, and then a passed ball. The second run came in the fourth after a walk, two ground outs and then a wild pitch. He struck out six and gave up no hits in his three inings.
Bryson Braswell pitched the last three innings and in the fourth gave up the Rampants only hit, a swinging bunt on that went about 35 feet.
Fuquay got just two hits in the game, both in the top of the sixth. Braswell led off with a bunt single, catcher Jake Baize walked, and first baseman Kyle Jackson then ripped a single that shortstop Greg Hardison couldn't handle to drive in a run. But that was all the Bengals could muster as lefty Matt Burne closed out the win for Rose .
“This was a game between two very good teams,” Rose coach Ronald Vincent said. “We were fortunate to get those two passed balls for runs. I really thought both teams would hit the ball better, but the pitchers threw really well, throwing strikes.”
In the sixth the Bengals scored a run, and had runners on second and third with one out, but Burne came in and got two strikeouts to snuff out the Bengals’ rally.
They said it
“This was a strange, strange game,” said Fuquay-Varina coach Milton Senter. “Both teams battled on the mound and at the plate. I thought we hit the ball better than they did. I thought we played well, I'm just disappointed we didn't win.”
Three to know
Bryson Braswell, Fquay-Varina: Started in centerfield, moved to the mound in the fourth. The junior got the first hit for the Bengals, a bunt leading off the sixth.
“I had to get on base and break up the no-hitter,” Braswell said. “The bunt was something I didn't think I'd do.”
Kyle Jackson, Fuquay-Varina: Drove in the only Fuquay run with a shot hit at the shortstop that took a wicked hop and bounced off the fielder for a hit. He also hit a hard line drive to short in the first.
“Their pitchers were good, throwing lots of strikes,” the junior said. “I was just looking to get one good pitch to hit and I was able to do it.”
Matt Burne, Rose: Rampants senior lefty reliever complimented starter Gray MacKenzie, with a strong fastball and he was able to hit his spots. He walked one and struck out three in 1 2/3 innings.
“I'd rather start the inning than come in like that, but I had the mindset I had to get outs,” Burne said. “I had both my fastball and slurve tonight. I felt good, loose, out there.”