ZEBULON Chris Berry had three hits and four runs batted
in as Rocky Mount outlasted East Rowan by an 8-6 score in the decisive third
game of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A baseball
championship series on Saturday at Five County Stadium.
Berry had two doubles as Rocky Mount won its fifth NCHSAA
state baseball championship in history, but first since 1980 as the Gryphons
finished the year 27-6 overall. Brian Goodwin of the Gryphons, who tripled
in two official trips, scored three times and was intentionally passed twice
in the decisive game, was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series.
Rocky Mount led 2-1 after one inning and then the Gryphons
erupted for four runs in the second to take command. Dillon Cockrell started
the rally with a double and scored on a single by Gabe Brown. Then after an
intentional walk, Chris Berry delivered a two-run double and then Ben Fish,
the school¹s single-season RBI record holder, doubled home a run to open up
a 6-1 lead.
East cut it to 6-3 in the third on a pair of sacrifice
flies by Zach Smith and Micah Jarrett, but Rocky Mount answered with two
more runs in the fourth. Goodwin tripled off the center field wall and
scored on a single by Berry, and later Berry came around after a hit batter,
fielder¹s choice and a wild pitch to make it 8-3.
But the Mustangs were not through, tallying three in the
home half of the sixth to slice the margin to 8-6, chasing Gryphon starter
Benton Ross. Austin Shull had a double for an RBI in the inning, which also
included runs scoring on an error and a fielder¹s choice.
Justin Roland collected two hits in four at bats, including
a double and a triple, for East while Shull and Noah Holmes also had two
East Rowan had forced the third and decisive game earlier
on Saturday as Jarrett went three for four at the plate to lead the Mustangs
to a 6-2 victory in game two. East scored three in the first inning and
held the Gryphons at bay as Justin Roland earned the pitching win. William
Barringer had three hits in four at-bats for Rocky Mount and Grant Johnson
was two for three in game two.
Rocky Mount had opened the series with a 7-4 victory on
Friday night, with Jim Leggett going the distance on the mound for the
victory for his eighth victory of the year, allowing just three hits.
East Rowan was back in the finals for the first time since
1995 and ended the year 29-5.