Despite two balls to start the third inning, Rocky Mount High third baseman Micah Varnell still had the green light when a fastball came down the middle of the plate.
In the left-center field alley at Tarboro Municipal Stadium, the walls are double stacked with a scoreboard resting on top. Varnell’s shot cleared the 25-foot barrier with ease Friday afternoon.
That was just the first of Tarboro’s mistakes that the Gryphons were able to take advantage of, but it was far from the only one. Aided by seven walks, Rocky Mount scored 12 runs in two innings to walk away with a 16-1 victory in just five innings.
“It’s important to capitalize on the other team’s mistake to get runners in scoring position and then come across with big hits to score some runs,” said Varnell, who finished the game 3-for-3 with two runs and three RBI.
With the Big East Conference schedule set to being Tuesday, Rocky Mount (3-4) knows this is one of the final chances it will have to learn to capitalize off another team’s mistakes.
“When people make mistakes, you always have to capitalize on it,” Cox said. “That’s the same for any sport.
“When somebody gets turnover in basketball, you’ve got to be able to do it. Same thing here.”
Varnell scored again as a part of a seven-run fourth inning. Tarboro (2-3) walked five batters and hit two more during the Gryphons’ outburst.
“Once we got down, that was it,” Tarboro first-year coach Chris O’Neill said. “Unfortunately, that was kind of how it went. ... It was definitely a snowball.”
The Vikings, who have only two seniors on the roster, managed a run in the bottom of the third, but with two runners on base, the Vikings struck out twice to end the inning.
Rocky Mount didn’t let those opportunities slip away. The Gryphons struck out just once after the third inning.
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org