Auto-matic joy for EC Auto
BY Laieke Abebe
The Daily Reflector
Friday, June 21, 2019
It was East Carolina Auto and Truck Center that persevered after facing an early deficit and won the Greenville Little Leagues city championship series Friday night at Elm Street Park.
EC Auto's 10-6 win erased an earlier 5-1 deficit after two innings to give the team its first city title since 1998 when the club was known as Harris Supermarket.
Friday was a winner-take-all night. After Overton’s took Game 1, 13-7, EC Auto stormed back to win 8-3 late Thursday night in Game 2 and force the championship-deciding contest.
“We were so close a few years ago,” manager Todd Boyd said about losing a 2017 championship appearance. "It was heartbreaking to lose that series, but my kids wouldn’t be denied tonight. We just kept working hard every day to get back here and the hard work paid off. I’m so proud of my team from the kids to the coaches and they deserve this moment."
A bases loaded walk got the scoring started for EC Auto in the top of the first inning. Overton’s answered in the bottom-half when Ethan Simmons hit a solo home run for a 1-1 tie.
Cian Boyd’s two-run double during the top of the fifth was a big blow and gave EC Auto an important 7-6 edge. The victors added another run to make it 8-6, followed by a 1-2-3 bottom to keep the lead at two runs.
Two more insurance runs made it 10-6 in the top of the sixth.
A clean bottom of the sixth led to jubilation for an EC Auto squad that went 20-8 this season and won the Tar Heel Little League championship to qualify for the city finals.
“It’s going to be a late night for us,” Boyd said about his team's plans for celebrating. “It’s a Friday night and the kids deserve to celebrate this amazing accomplishment. This is something we’re really going to enjoy for a long time."
Overton’s took its first lead while scoring four runs in the bottom of the second, claiming a 5-1 advantage.
EC Auto cut it to 5-4 with two runs in the top of the third and one more in the fourth.
Despite seeing its lead cut to one run, Overton’s, the North State champion, added a run in the bottom of the fourth. However, EC Auto showed resiliency again and it was rewarded in the top of the fifth inning with its four-run rally to take control of the game for the rest of the way.
Simmons finished 3-for-4 at the plate.
Justin Grimes was EC Auto's leadoff hitter and he went 4-for-5 with three runs scored. Owen Conway was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs and two walks.