Published: 11:42 PM, Tue May 15, 2012
Gray's Creek baseball loses 9-3 to Northeast Guilford in 2nd round of state playoffs
The celebration didn't last long at Gray's Creek. Just four days after scoring the school's first win in the state 3-A baseball playoffs, the Bears were handed their first defeat of the playoffs' second round.
Visiting Northeast Guilford built a comfortable early lead and held off Gray's Creek's late rally attempt for a 9-3 win.
Northeast, 20-7, advances to the third round of the postseason later this week. Gray's Creek, the tournament champion of the Cape Fear Valley 3-A Conference, ended its season 21-4.
Northeast threw an assortment of pitchers against the Bears, and Gray's Creek had trouble hitting all of them. The Bears were held to four hits for the game, three of them in their best inning, the sixth, when they managed to score a pair of runs.
Meanwhile, Northeast had little trouble with Gray's Creek starter Seth Reeves and reliever Logan Hales. Between them they allowed 12 hits, hit two batters and walked two. The Bears defense also had its problems with an assortment of errors, wild pitches and passed balls.
Center fielder Caleb McNeill was one of four Gray's Creek players to get a hit, a single to center in the sixth inning.
"We weren't seeing the ball well,'' McNeill said. "We were getting under it, just missing the ball. We're not used to seeing that kind if pitching.
"We stuck with it and we showed in the later innings we were capable of hitting the ball. They had the better night tonight.''
McNeill felt the Bears tried to fight back, even after falling behind 7-1 after four innings. "We were working our way back in those last innings, but we couldn't pull it out,'' he said.
Too many mistakes
"They were very good, but we helped them,'' Gray's Creek coach Jeff Nance said. "You can't make that many mistakes playing a caliber team like that.
"We had two young kids on the mound and I thought they did a decent job, but you can't give teams like that extra outs.''
For the second game in a row, Nance felt his team waited too late to have quality at bats. "The lefthander they started (Matt Millaway) was down at the knees and changed speeds well,'' Nance said. "They've got four or five quality pitchers. I can't take anything away from their effort.
"But we have definitely played better most of the year than we did tonight.''
Although his team is losing starters at catcher, second base, shortstop and centerfield, he's confident about next year. "Our jayvees won the conference and only lost two games,'' he said. "We've got some quality kids coming up and some sophomores and juniors on the varsity who are going to have to step up.
"We feel good about the future and feel really good about the pitching staff next year.''
Northeast Guilford 9, Gray's Creek 3
Northeast Guilford 203 202 0 - 9 12 2
Gray's Creek 010 002 0 - 3 4 1
M. Millaway, Watkins (4), C. McCann (6) and Peeples. Reeves, Hales (3) and Brassard. W - Millaway. L - Reeves.
Leading hitters: NG - Colon 3-4 (2B); Davis 2-3 (3B, RBI); J. McCann 2-3 (3 RBI); Brown 2-3 (RBI); Wyrick 2-4 (2 RBI). GC - McNeill 1-4; Dilday 1-3; McDowell 1-2; Nalls 1-3.
Records: Northeast Guilford 20-7, Gray's Creek 21-4.