TARBORO – From the most unlikely source, and its offense stagnant, Tarboro came back to life in the sixth inning of the Tarboro Easter Baseball Classic championship.
With only a handful of hits on the season, Trey Radford stepped to the plate with two outs and the Vikings down two runs and in danger of losing their own tournament championship game for the second straight year.
Radford, who already had allowed eight runs to Merry Hill Lawrence Academy on the mound, looped a single into right field, scoring two.
Corey Baker followed immediately with a single up the middle, scoring another run and bolstering Tarboro to a 9-8 come-from-behind victory at Tarboro Municipal Stadium.
For Radford, who had been having better and better at-bats all season, it was the right time to come through with a two-RBI single.
“It was only a matter of time before he broke through,” Tarboro coach Justin Smith said. “(Friday), he chose the perfect night for it.”
After just six hits in its first two victories, Tarboro finally showed something resembling an offense in the championship game Friday night. Although not overpowering in any way. Tarboro’s offense produced a pair of runs in the first and third inning to take a 4-1 lead.
Tristian Bateman and Travis Martin, Tarboro’s top two batters, both reached base without a hit to lead off the game for the Vikings.
Bateman was hit by a pitch, and Martin reached first on an error by Lawrence Academy third baseman J.B. Williams.
All the while, the Vikings managed just five hits through the first five innings.
“We want on-base percentage,” Smith said. “We want guys to get on base. It doesn’t matter how you get on – hit, hit batters – it doesn’t matter. As long as you can get on, you can score.”
Of the nine runners that scored for Tarboro, only three reached on a hit.
Lawrence Academy erased Tarboro’s early lead with an offensive explosion of sorts in the fourth inning.
Aided by three errors from Tarboro, Lawrence Academy scored five runs – three unearned – to take a two-run lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Tarboro crept back even, 6-6, before the Warriors scored another two runs in the fifth inning.
But the Vikings were able to come back again and bounced on the pitching mound to celebrate their victory.
“They battled,” Smith said. “They came back and they came back and they came back. After they lost the lead, they just came back. Our guys battled.”
Merry Hill Lawrence Academy 8
MHL 010 520 0 – 8 9 3
T 202 203 x – 9 8 5
WP: Markeese Clapp (2IP, 1R, 1ER, 1H, 1BB, 2K); LP: Jesse White (5.2IP, 8R, 5ER, 7H, 2BB, 10K).
2B: Jordyn Holland (T).
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org