Rosewood’s bats woke up at the right time against Princeton on Tuesday evening.
With the score tied 5-5 in the top of the ninth inning, Rosewood scored five runs in the inning to take a 10-5 lead.
The Eagles then held off Princeton in the bottom of the ninth to get the win and improve its record to 5-1 overall.
“I saw a lot of fight. We had opportunities earlier in the game, and we didn’t capitalize on them, and we had opportunities to drop our head when that happened, and we didn’t,” Rosewood head coach Jason King said. “We stayed in the ballgame the entire time, and that’s what we have to do.”
Logan Merritt’s sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth put Rosewood up 5-3, but Princeton battled back in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Jacob McCain’s RBI ground out cut Rosewood’s lead down to 5-4, and later in the inning, after a Rosewood error, the Bulldogs tied things up at 5-5.
Both teams were unable to score any runs in the seven-inning, and the game was sent into extra innings.
Weston Evans stuck out the side in the top of the eighth, but despite getting runners on base in the bottom of the inning, the Bulldogs could not score the game-winning run.
At the top of the ninth, Conner Casey and Davis Albert both hit singles, while Benjamin Peacock drew a walk to load the bases.
Logan Merritt then stepped up to the plate, and Merritt hit a two-run single to give Rosewood the lead back.
However, the Eagles were not finished.
Will Harris hit single to load the bases again. Gabe Vernon then hit a two-run single to increase Rosewood’s lead to 9-5. Bryce Wirkhouski’s RBI put Rosewood 10-5.
“Getting runners on base is a big confidence booster, and once we did that, the guys really got excited, and it becomes contagious sometimes,” King said.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Bulldogs attempted another comeback, but Merritt, who pitched the final three innings of the game, struck out three of the five batters he faced to give the Eagles the victory.
In addition to getting the win on the mound, Merritt went 3-3 from the plate with a double and five RBIs, Vernon ended the game with two RBIs, while Harris and Wirkhouski both had one RBI apiece.
Tyler Thompson, Weston Evan, and McCain each had one RBI to lead the Bulldogs.
“Logan Merritt has been really great for us. I’ve not been able to get him on the mound as much as I would’ve liked,” King said. “He did a great job for us. He stayed in the strike zone for the most part, and his bat has been big for us at the plate.”
Rosewood will face Hobbton on Thursday with first place in the Carolina 1A Conference on the line, while Princeton (4-3 overall) travels to Union (0-6) today.
“I want to see the same fight. Whatever they took from the last parts of this ballgame, and I want to see them start the ballgame and finish it out on Thursday,” King said. “If we can do those things, then we have a chance to be successful on Thursday.”