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Eagles survive big Knight rally for 18-11 win

KENNETT’S AUSTIN WEBER dives back into first base as Kingswood first baseman Jeff Runnals looks to put on a tag during action May 12. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
May 18, 2010
NORTH CONWAY — With Kennett up 18-2 heading to the top of the fifth inning, it looked like an early finish for the Eagles and Kingswood on the baseball diamond on Wednesday, May 12.

However, coach Chip Skelley's Knights came roaring back with seven runs in the top of the fifth and picked up another pair in the seventh, before eventually succumbing by an 18-11 score.

"It was a great comeback, but we've had to make too many of those," Skelley said. "We can't completely fall apart."

"I give Chip and those kids credit, down 18-2, they didn't pack it in at all," Kennett coach Bob Burns noted. "You could feel the momentum changes and we had to get the momentum back."

The first momentum of the game went to the Knights, who picked up two runs in the top of the second inning after both teams left runners stranded in the first inning. Kingswood left the bases loaded in the first, as Jeff Runnals had a base hit and Slayd Dore and Cole Swancott both walked with two outs, only to stay on the bases as Kennett's Michael Larson got out of the jam. Kennett's Austin Weber walked to open the bottom of the inning and stole second, but was stranded as well.

Kingswood's Pat Smith opened the second with a walk and took second on a wild pitch. Two outs later, Phil Erwin doubled to plate Smith and a Matt Mangum base hit pushed Erwin across for the 2-0 Kingswood lead.

However, Kennett started swinging the bats in the bottom of the second inning against Runnals, knocking the Knight ace from the game.

Josh Drew started the rally with a base hit and Nick Kevlin and Sean Perley both followed with base hits to load the sacks. A base hit from Dave Ingram tied the game at two. Alex Milford grounded into a force at third base and Weber had a sacrifice fly to center to put runners on the corners. Larson and Sires drew back-to-back walks to plate one run and give Kennett a 3-2 lead. Nick Massa reached on an error to make it 4-2 and Drew doubled to plate three runs. A Kevlin base hit made it 8-2 before Dore replaced Runnals and got a grounder to short to get out of the inning.

After the Knights couldn't get any offense against Larson in the top of the third, the Eagles came out swinging again in the bottom of the inning.

Ingram and Milford reached to open the inning and an infield hit by Weber loaded the bases. Larson had a base hit to plate one and Sires plated another for a 10-2 lead. Massa followed with a hit to drive home two runs, knocking Dore from the game, with Tim Campbell taking the hill.

A Drew sacrifice fly to right plated another run and after Kevlin walked and Perley reached on an error, Ingram doubled home a pair of runs to make it 15-2. Campbell got a strikeout, but a base hit from Weber plated two more runs for a 17-2 lead before the Knight hurler got out of the frame.

Kingswood went in order in the top of the fourth and Massa and Drew reached on errors to open the bottom of the inning and another error allowed the Eagles to plate their 18th run.

However, a 6-4-3 double play got the Knights out of the inning and sent them to what appeared to be their final at bats of the game.

Mike Harris led off the fifth with a base hit and Runnals and Jake Stout followed with base hits to plate a run, making it 18-3. After a Swancott base hit, Tom Melnik drove in a pair of runs with a base hit. Smith walked and Joey Irvine lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 18-6. Dave Harrigan walked and Erwin beat out an infield hit that scored another run, making it 18-7. Harris then walked with the bases loaded to make it a 10-run game and Sires took over on the hill for the Eagles. Runnals followed with a base hit to plate another run before Sires got a pop up and a strikeout to end the inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Weber doubled and Larson walked, but Campbell got out of trouble with a fly ball to center to end the inning.

Dave Hersey beat out a bunt hit to open the sixth inning. Smith hit a grounder to short, forcing Hersey at second, but they threw the ball away, allowing Smith to move up. However, Sires got a strikeout and a grounder to short, with Milford making a nice play, to close out the inning.

Kingswood put two more across the plate in the top of the seventh. Erwin started the inning with a base hit and moved up on a wild pitch. Runnals then tripled off the fence in right to plate another run and Swancott plated Runnals with a base hit, making it 11-8. However, Sires got a strikeout to end the game.

"I like offensive displays like that," Burns laughed.

"It took the kids off the bench," Skelley said of the subs who started the big rally in the fifth. "I was trying to find kids who want to say, 'coach, I want to play.'"

He noted that 12 games into the season is a bit late to be putting things together on the field, but noted that the efforts put forth by the subs did not go unnoticed.

Skelley also pointed out that his squad needs to start swinging the bats a bit more instead of watching strikes go by.

"We just need to stick the bat out," he said. "Teams have been doing that to us, it's time we do that to someone else."

He noted that had the Knights made two plays against the Eagles, they could've saved six runs, and it would've been a one-run game.

More Eagles

The Kennett boys opened the week in strong fashion, knocking off Laconia by a 12-0 score. With the two victories, Kennett jumps to 8-3 on the season.

The Eagles will be in action on Monday, May 24, hosting St. Thomas at 4:15 p.m. in the final home game of the season. The boys will head to Portsmouth for a 6:30 p.m. game on Wednesday, May 26.

More Knights

The Knights dropped a 7-0 decision to Portsmouth to open their week on Monday, May 10.

They will return to action on Friday, May 21, at 4:15 p.m. on the road at Plymouth. On Monday, May 24, the boys will host Coe-Brown in the final regular season game on the schedule at 4:15 p.m.

"It's a big week for us with St. Thomas, Oyster River (after deadline Monday and Wednesday) and Plymouth," Skelley said. "We really need two of three.

"We'll give it a gallant effort," he added.

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