In what started out as a landslide in favor of the South Johnston baseball team Friday night at Bruce Coats Field, a pair of ‘Bridges’ was needed to stem the tide of a come-from-behind charge from Corinth Holders.
Noah Bridges threw out the Pirates’ Tate Proctor at the plate to nail down the 7-6 victory for South Johnston after the Trojans had built a 7-2 advantage after just two innings of play.
Noah Bridges hit an inside-the-park home run while Joseph Johnson and Grant Millay took the easier approach of hitting their shots over the wall to build the lead and, as it turned out, every one of those runs was crucial to holding off the Pirates.
“We said there was no limit on runs we could score because we know they are good and we know they are competitive,” South Johnston coach Aaron Parnell said. “They make you make plays, they make you play hard. We were disappointed when they came back on us but we kept playing hard…the (key) was just grinding it out and not letting yourself get down.”
With the potential game tying run on second base with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Pirates’ Logan Whitley singled to right. As Tate Proctor rounded third base, South Johnston right fielder Noah Bridges collected the ball and, in one perfect motion, fired a one-hopper towards home plate to his older brother Zachary, who applied the tag on Proctor to secure the victory.
Bridges looked for a little divine intervention just before he was called upon to make the biggest play of the night.
“There’s two outs and I get nervous there in the outfield,” admitted Bridges. “I remember our last game at Corinth (Holders), they got the tying run on my wild throw. He hit it to me, God gave me the opportunity and he did the rest.”
Zachary Bridges applied the tag just a split second before Proctor’s foot slid onto home plate.
Three to watch
Noah Bridges, South Johnston: Not only was Bridges’ toss home a thing of beauty that got the Trojans back in contention for a top spot in the Two Rivers 3A Conference, the junior also managed an inside-the-park home run. When his shot to the gap in right-center ricocheted off of a diving Eli Dalton all the way into left field, Bridges did not hesitate and raced all the way around and slid into home for the Trojans’ third home run of the game.
Joseph Johnson, South Johnston: The High Point University commit wasted little time making an impact on the game, hitting the first pitch he saw for a single to set the table in the first inning and then the second pitch he saw in the second inning for a two-run homer.
Kody Cyr, Corinth Holders: The sophomore pitcher came on relief in the top of the third inning with two runners in scoring position and shut the door to keep the Pirates within striking distance. Cyr settled things down and retired the first 10 batters he faced in 3 2/3 innings of no-hit ball to provide Corinth Holders with a chance to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning.
They said it
“You can’t spot anyone seven runs in the first two innings and expect to climb out of it,” said Corinth Holders coach Adam Weaver. “We dug ourselves such a big hole early that we couldn’t climb out of it. We chipped away, chipped away and made a game of it.
“You take away the first two innings and I think we played pretty decent but you can’t play five innings of baseball, you’ve got to play seven.”
The Trojans’ win moved them into third place in the Two Rivers 3A Conference, a game behind Corinth Holders and a game-and-a-half behind league leaders Cleveland.
South Johnston will look to continue moving up the standings on the road with games at Smithfield-Selma and Western Harnett in the coming week.
Corinth Holders will look to put the tough loss behind them as they host Cleveland on Tuesday with a chance to once again get the inside track to the league regular season title.
By the numbers
8: Hits pounded out by South Johnston in the first two innings.
77: Pitches thrown by Corinth Holders pitchers over those same first two innings.
12: Total hits for Corinth Holders delivered by six different Pirates.
3: Hits from both the Pirates’ Tate Proctor and Logan Whitley with Proctor coming through with a two-run double in the fifth inning and Whitley scoring Proctor in the second inning on a RBI single.