It began as a pitchers’ duel and ended with a crazy bottom of the seventh.
And when it was over, Corinth Holders High School had one of the best victories in its four-year baseball history.
Robbie Storey scored the winning run on a wild pitch with one out, giving the Pirates a 3-2 victory over South Johnston, their first in six tries against their county rivals.
The win improved Corinth Holders to 8-8 overall and 5-2 in the Two Rivers 3A conference. South, which had beaten the Pirates 5-0 on March 28 in Four Oaks, dropped to 10-7 and 5-2.
“We’ve been waiting for a game like that all year,” Pirates coach Adam Weaver said. “We needed a game where we came out and played hard, got a win and got us over the hump.
“We just needed to beat a baseball team with tradition. We’re trying to establish our own, but against schools with tradition, it’s hard to get the first one under your belt. Our guys came out and played hard for seven innings and got the win.”
Southpaw Jake Lewis (2-0) was the winning pitcher in relief, giving up a hit and striking out two after coming on for Nick Peach with a runner on first and nobody out in the seventh.
Peach allowed the two runs on four hits, striking out two against one walk.
South starter Joseph Johnson pitched the complete game, allowing the three runs on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks. Corinth Holders finished without an RBI, as the runs scored on a balk and a pair of wild pitches.
“Things just didn’t work out,” veteran South coach Keith Durham said. “Tip your hat to Corinth Holders. They played a great ball game and did what they had to do to win. We had some opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them, and they exploited some things we gave them. That’s what good teams do, and that’s why they won tonight.”
Peach retired the first nine Trojans to come to the plate.
“I felt like I pitched well enough to win,” Peach said. “I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff, but my teammates backed me up and played a good game tonight. My fastball and change-up were working good, but I couldn’t control my curve ball.
“This is a big win for us; they’re tough competition.”
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first as Oakley Wallrich hit a one-out single and scored on a two-out balk.
South tied it in the fourth as Josh Stikeleather drew a lead-off walk, advanced on Joseph Johnson’s single and scored on Nash Johnson’s single to center. But the Pirates took the lead again in the bottom, as Peach reached second on a fielder’s choice, took third on Adam Evans’ single to right and scored on a wild pitch.
The Trojans tied it in the sixth as Joseph Johnson hit a one-out triple to right and scored on Nash Johnson’s fly to center.
“I let my emotions get the best of me at the end, but other than that, I had a pretty solid performance,” Joseph Johnson said. “We just have to get our minds right and play hard from here on out.”
Then came that weird seventh inning. Cameron Brewer drew a one-out walk before Storey reached on a fielder’s choice. Kahlil Hodge then singled to right, with both runners stealing against an inattentive infield. Bobby Beare was then walked intentionally without a pitch, and then Storey crossed the plate on the wild pitch.
“Never in my life have I been intentionally walked,” said Beare, who doubled and ran down five balls in center field. “I’ve never seen a walk-off wild pitch. But Robbie played great tonight and deserved to score that run.”