Rosewood fought hard for all seven innings of its first-round playoff game against East Wake Academy on Tuesday evening.
Unfortunately, East Wake Academy managed to defeat the Eagles 6-2 and advance to the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A playoffs.
The Eagles end their season with an 11-3 overall record.
“All credit to East Wake. They are a great ball club. They did a great job on the mound, at the plate, and they put the ball in play,” Rosewood head coach Jason King said. “When we needed to make plays, we just didn’t make a lot of them.
“We have to make plays to be able to move on, and we just didn’t do that, but I love this group of guys, and they played hard.”
Will Harris got the start on the mound for the Eagles, and he delivered another stellar performance. In six innings of work, Harris struck out four and gave up no earned runs.
However, East Wake took advantage of some Rosewood errors and scored one run in the top of the second and two runs in the top of the third to take a 3-0 lead.
“Will had another strong outing. He stayed in the strike zone,” King said. “We just didn’t make the plays behind him that we’ve been making, and that makes it tougher against a good team.”
Rosewood battled back in the bottom of the fifth.
With two outs on the board, Harris got on base thanks to an East Wake error. Logan Merritt then delivered a single, while Benjamin Peacock drew a walk to load the bases.
Gabe Vernon then stepped into the batter’s box and hit a two-RBI single to cut East Wake’s lead down 3-2, but the Eagles could not get any closer.
“The boys could’ve easily packed it in, and they kept fighting,” King said. “There was never a doubt in my mind that they wouldn’t fight and try to stay in the ball game, but it’s one of the things where we couldn’t get anything to bounce our way.”
And in the top of the seventh, East Wake scored four runs to build up a 6-2 advantage and held off the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh to get the win.
King said he is thankful for his senior’s four years of hard work and dedication to the baseball program and that the future of the Rosewood baseball program looks bright.
“We don’t always have freshman and sophomores starting on the team, and we did this year because we had to,” King said. “The seniors led by example and did the things I asked them to do, so that’s paving the way for young guys.
“We’ve got a lot of multi-sport athletes, and that’s good. I want them to play as many sports as they can because it makes them more well-rounded baseball players.”