Rocky Mount High junior Josh Carter was caught stranded off second base twice Tuesday night.
In the second inning, he failed to cover a base – allowing a key run to score for Wilson Fike. He was the goat after a pair of mental errors and a run-aiding error in the fourth inning.
Five innings later, Carter was stuck under a mob of his teammates – just off second base – after a game-winning, bases-loaded single at Rocky Mount High School in the Gryphons’ 4-3 victory in nine innings.
He was the hero.
“I wanted a chance,” said Carter, the Gryphons’ second baseman. “... I needed to win it for us.”
Carter turned on an inside fastball, which was the first pitch he saw in the ninth inning, after the two batters ahead of him walked to load the bases. One was an intentional walk.
Carter wanted to make up for his early blunders, each of which led to a run. When he finally saw a fastball on the inside, he drove the ball down the left-field line, just a few feet from going foul.
“That shows his resilience a little bit,” Rocky Mount High coach Kent Cox said. “He can make plays. That’s why we put him out there. This game gets to you sometimes in tight situations. ... As the game went on, he shook it off.”
Rocky Mount High (6-10, 3-4 Big East), which moved within one game of fourth place after picking up three wins in the past four league games, had a chance behind ace Cody Smith, who pitched four hitless inning after allowing Wilson Hunt (9-8, 4-3) to score its third run.
“With him on the mound or Will (Edwards) on the mound, you have a chance to win every night,” said Cox, who regretted leaving Smith in the game for as long as he did. “... In this situation, as bad as we needed this win, that’s what I needed to do.”
Smith struck out 13 batters to set up Carter, who also had a pair of key sacrifice bunts and another run-scoring single.
Rocky Mount High 4
Wilson Hunt 3, 9 Innings
WH 002 100 000 – 3 4 1
RMH 012 000 001 – 4 8 2
WP: Blake Helms (1IP, 0R, 0ER, 0H, 0BB, 0K); LP: Joel Taylor (3.2IP, 1R, 0ER, 4H, 4BB, 3K).
2B: Andy Morris (RMH), Micah Varnell (RMH).
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org