Power and pitching moved D.H. Conley’s baseball team one step closer to the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference regular-season championship Tuesday night.
Dixon Williams and Matthew Matthijs each smashed a three-run home run, and Matthijs held South Central to four hits and a run through six innings as the Vikings eased past the Falcons 10-1.
D.H. Conley improved to 11-1 overall and 9-1 in the ECC 3A/4A, and a win over Southern Wayne tonight will give the Vikings the league’s 3A berth for the state playoffs, which begin next Tuesday.
South Central (8-4, 7-4 ECC 3A/4A), which has already clinched the 4A berth from the conference for the postseason and was celebrating Senior Night, has now lost three straight games.
Conley got the scoring started with three runs in the top of the second inning. Bryce Jackson led off with a walk, took second on a passed ball and advanced to third on a groundout by Thomas Barrett. One out later, Carson Hardee walked and stole second unabated to set up a three-run home run by Dixon Williams to make it 3-0.
South Central secured its only run of the game when S’Quan Waters smacked a solo homer to right field to lead off the bottom of the second inning. After an error and a stolen base, Matthijs coaxed a flyout and two strikeouts to end the frame.
The Vikings put up three more runs in the top of the third. Braeden Murray and Evan McLean started with singles, and Matthijs drove in Murray with a single. A walk to Jackson loaded the bases, and McLean scored on a wild pitch. Barrett then walked to load the bases again and Coleman Dunlow drove in Jacob Smith (Matthijs’s courtesy runner) with a sacrifice fly to right field to extend the lead to 6-1.
Conley made it 7-1 in the top of the fifth when Matthijs singled and his courtesy runner, Smith, advanced on Jackson’s single. Two outs later, Hardee reached on an error that brought in Smith.
The visitors tacked on their final three runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Justin McDonald walked and took second on a balk. Murray blooped a single to left field, and one out later, Matthijs launched a three-run blast over the left-center field fence to make it 10-1. Jackson followed with a single but was left stranded following a flyout, a hit batter and a strikeout.
The Falcons put a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh (Waters had an infield single) with two outs, but Williams fielded Daylinh Nguygen-Brown’s grounder and stepped on second base to retire Waters and end the game.
Matthijs struck out 10 and walked two in earning the victory on the mound for Conley.
The teams meet again Thursday at D.H. Conley in the regular-season finale.
J.H. Rose 11 Southern Wayne 1
The Rampants won big, running their season record to 9-4 overall and 8-3 in the ECC 3A/4A.
The teams play again on Thursday night in Dudley to close out the regular season.