Top-seeded Orange comes back with 3 in 6th for 3-1 playoff win
Orange survived and advanced in the first round of the 3-A playoffs after getting three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 3-1 home, come-from-behind win over Northeast Guilford.
Big Eight Conference champion Orange carried the league’s No. 1 seed into Wednesday's game against No. 5 seed Northeast Guilford of the Mid-State Conference. Orange was unbeaten in the Big Eight this season.
Orange will host either No. 2 seed Cameron Union Pines or No. 4 seed Northern Guilford on Saturday.
“We persevered,” Orange coach Dean Dease said. “We lived to fight another day. It wasn’t pretty.”
It was a stingy affair between two pitchers who weren’t giving up much until Northeast Guilford’s Austin Young went yard on Orange hurler Jordan Toney in the top of the fourth, that home run giving the Rams a 1-0 lead.
Orange tried to put something together in the bottom of the fourth. Brad Debo and Bryse Wilson both singled to give Matthew Crabtree something to work with.
But the Rams had a fine freshman on the mound. Northeast Guilford pitcher Jacob Brown struck out Crabtree and then gave the same treatment to Eric Compton. Brown fanned Collin Pope to start the inning, so the Panthers went back to the dugout without crossing the plate.
Brown had a breaking ball that was pretty filthy — in part because it stayed in the dirt, and Orange’s batters kept swinging at it.
The Panthers kept hanging around and got something else started in the sixth. Debo doubled off the left-field fence, moving Pope to third base.
Wilson stepped to the plate and smashed a double that drove in Pope and Debo, putting Orange on top 2-1.
Josh Kiehle flied out to center field, driving in Wilson.
Orange had finally figured out Brown and took a 3-1 lead into the seventh.
“I think what happened, him being so young, eventually he got a little tired,” Dease said.
In Orange’s dugout, the Panthers were telling each other to lay off Brown’s breaking balls, because most of them were in the dirt, Dease said.
“Eventually, the breaking ball quit working for him a little bit and he was throwing fastballs, and that’s what we hit,” Dease said.
Toney tossed a complete game, settling in and striking out the side in the seventh to put a bow on this one.