J.H. Rose sweeps Cox Mill to claim 3A baseball state championship
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (HSOT) - The bats took a little bit to wake up. But when they did, J.H. Rose had more than enough power on Sunday to cap off a 12-game winning streak to end the season and earn the seventh state title in program history with a 9-4 victory over Cox Mill at Terry Sanford High School in Game 2 of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A championship series.
As recently as May 25, the Rampants lacked a winning record. But a perfect five-week stretch by head coach Ron Vincent’s team to end the season gave J.H. Rose (16-4) its first state title since 2008. Cox Mill finished the season 16-5, falling short in its first appearance in a championship series.
The Rampants’ recipe for success during a weekend that featured weather delays, the suspension of games, and a venue change? Mashing the ball.
After forcing Cox Mill to give up a season-high eight runs in Game 1, J.H. Rose’s batters were once again pests to the Chargers on Sunday, who, unlike in Game 1, jumped out to a 3-0 lead before a five-run fourth inning by the Rampants turned the game around.
Cox Mill opened the scoring in the bottom of the second with some opportunistic two-out hitting from Kyle Cassell, who hit his second homer of the season, a solo shot off of J.H. Rose’s Tyler Bonds.
The Chargers made it a two-run advantage on a single by Cale Oehler, whose hit to center field plated James Green, and a groundout to first base by Joe Javier later in the inning brought in a run, making it 3-0 in favor of the Chargers.
J.H. Rose’s fortunes began to change in the fourth.
While pitcher Zach Burgbacher gave Cox Mill three scoreless frames, the senior was replaced on the mound by Tyler Zedalis after issuing a pair of walks to and giving up an RBI single to the Rampants’ Wade Jarman to start off the top of the fourth, which made it a 3-1 game.
Zedalis inherited a pair of baserunners from Burgbacher, and he struggled to contain the Rampants. A double by Cam Greenway made it a one-run game, and a sacrifice fly from Caleb May tied the game at 3-3. The hits kept coming for J.H. Rose, as Cole Watkins’ RBI single to right field gave his team their first lead of the day, and the Rampants made it 5-3 on a single by Danny Sadler and a throwing error by Cox Mill’s Green in center field, which allowed J.H. Rose’s Watkins to score.
Cox Mill began to claw back in the bottom of the fourth, as Connor Welker scored on an error by J.H. Rose’s Sadler while tagging up from second to third.
But J.H. Rose was quick to respond via the long ball thanks to Grayson Myrick’s second homer of the year, this one a two-run shot to left field that brought in AJ Briley.
The Rampants tacked on an eighth run in the sixth, with Danny Sadler scoring on a fielder’s choice by Ryker Galaska.
Despite giving up three runs in the game’s opening three innings, J.H. Rose’s Bonds avoided big-run innings and managed the game well for J.H. Rose. The junior entered Sunday with a 1.15 ERA through 36.2 innings pitched, and he remained composed for the Rampants despite the Chargers getting three runs off him early on. Bonds exited with one out in the sixth, having struck out six and walked zero.
Jarman, who plated J.H. Rose’s first run of the day, replaced Bonds on the mound and got the final two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, J.H. Rose picked up one final insurance run, a sacrifice fly by Sadler off Cox Mill’s Oehler.
Soon after, Jarman pitched a clean bottom of the seventh, and J.H. Rose’s title was secured.
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