Rocky Mount High's Sam Lilley steals second base as the ball gets by Southern Nash's Kyle Clarke during the game Friday at Southern Nash High School.
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Telegram photo / Alan Campbell

Rocky Mount High's Sam Lilley steals second base as the ball gets by Southern Nash's Kyle Clarke during the game Friday at Southern Nash High School.

Gryphons earn first conference win against Firebirds

By Justin Hite

Sports Writer

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BAILEY – At some point this season, catcher Andy Morris didn’t care how Rocky Mount High earned its first conference victory, as long as it came soon.

Despite recording just one earned run Friday, the Gryphons walked away from Southern Nash High School with that all important first win after just five innings and a 14-1 win.

“You want to get a win no matter what,” Morris said. “Against any team, they are going to play you hard. We knew we just had to come out and hit the ball hard.”

Before the season started, Rocky Mount coach Kent Cox said a team with three losses might win the Big East Conference. For Rocky Mount (4-7, 1-3 Big East) to do that, the wins would have to start piling up in a hurry.

However, to claim one of the conference’s three playoffs spots, the task wouldn’t be as daunting. It still would start the same way, with a couple wins in a row.

“We’re kind of in a must-win now, kind of a must-win out,” Cox said. “... You’ve got to scratch and claw every chance you get.”

Those wins probably won’t come as easily as Friday night’s. Rocky Mount took advantage off 11 errors by Southern Nash (1-10, 0-4), which has lost its past two games by a combined score of 38-1 in just eight combined innings.

“We stayed behind in the count, and we had 11 errors,” Southern Nash coach Jeff Flowers said. “You’re not going to beat people doing that. You’re not going to beat anybody doing that.”

Southern Nash, whose top pitcher is out with an elbow injury, committed at least one error in every inning, including two to begin the first and third innings. Through the first four innings, the Firebirds recorded an error against at least one of the first three batters.

“If you hit the ball, put the ball in play and hit a hard ball, you never know what’s going to happen,” Cox said. “We got up early and kept pounding. ... When they give you extra bases, that’s the biggest thing in this game.”

Morris led Rocky Mount, which is just two games back of first-place Wilson Fike, with a career-high four RBI as ten different players scored.

“We got this win, and we need to get six more,” Morris said.

 

 

Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or jhite@rmtelegram.com