The baseball teams at J.H. Rose and D.H. Conley ended the regular season Thursday tied atop the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference standings.
That created a winner-take-all tiebreaker for Friday night for 3-A state playoff seeding, and it ended up being maybe just a few feet separating them in favor of a 7-5 Conley win to take top honors.
It was 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Jake Lysaght dropped a two-run double just inside the foul line in the right-field corner to score pinch runner Brandon Ward and leadoff man Zach Byrum for the winning 7-5 cushion. Lysaght’s game-winner came with two outs and on a 2-2 pitch from Rose reliever Shane Rademacher.
“It was on the line, so whoever drew the line out there I need to give them a pay raise probably,” DHC coach Jason Mills said.
Conley led 3-0 and 5-2, but the visiting Rampants rallied for three runs in the sixth to create the 5-5 tie.
The bottom of the sixth was keyed by two-out walks by Josh McCarter and Byrum to get on base for Lysaght. Byrum finished with two runs scored and a double, and DHC’s Cam Jackson was a force at the plate with a 3-for-3 outing that included a double, RBI and run scored.
“They battled back and we got that timely hit there from Jake Lysaght and that was huge,” Mills said. “It was a heck of a ball game for both clubs.”
Vikings starting pitcher David Dobson went the first 4 1/3 innings without allowing a hit. Max Van Coutren recorded JHR’s first hit with an RBI infield single.
Dobson left the mound during the sixth with his squad clinging to a 5-4 edge.
The Rose sixth featured consecutive RBI singles from Jake Henry Rogers and Rademacher. Rogers scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-5.
A win by either team Thursday night would have given it the conference title outright. The Rampants lost 2-1 to New Bern and South Central beat DHC 9-2.
“It was a good game and a fun one to be a part of, but a tough one,” Rose coach Ronald Vincent said. “We had two chances to win the thing — last night and tonight — and we didn’t win either one of them. But we did compete there at the end.”