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Williamston rolls past Roanoke Rapids

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Assistant Sports Editor
ROANOKE RAPIDS -- Trey Warren moved from his second base position to the pitching mound, inheriting a bases-loaded jam and only one out in the fifth inning. His Williamston Tigers were trying to hold onto a 5-0 lead against Roanoke Rapids on a cold Friday evening.
Warren, in many pressure situations throughout his baseball career, handled it well. He allowed a sacrifice fly to David Brown and that was it, helping lead the Tigers (2-1) to a 10-1 win over the Yellow Jackets (1-3).
Williamston, last year's Class 1-A state runners-up, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Warren, who had two hits and scored three times, ignited the early charge. The senior led off the game by beating out an infield hit off lefty Michael Powell.
After J.J. House walked, Brad Roach singled to right to load the bases. Senior Chris Cullom, facing his former team in the Yellow Jackets, brought in the first run of the game with a fielder's choice.
Dee Eubanks flew out deep to right to score House, while David Francis later knocked in Cullom with a single to right.
That would be all the offense the Tigers would need, as Roach, Anthony Williams and Warren combined to throw a one-hitter. Roach (1-0) went the first four innings and allowed the lone hit. The 6-6, 215-pound senior fanned four and walked five.
Roach worked out of a couple of jams, including a bases-loaded situation in the second.
Williamston tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Francis reached on a fielder's choice and Benji Harrell was inserted as a pinch-runner. Brody Bland, who singled and walked twice in his three plate appearances, drew a walk to get two aboard. Harrell scored on an error, while Bland scored on a double steal.
Williams came on in relief of Roach in the fifth and quickly ran into trouble. After getting the leadoff batter to ground out, Williams walked the next three batters. Warren came on and allowed a sacrifice fly that made it 5-1. After beaning Brian Dale to reload the bases, Warren ended the inning by getting the next batter to ground out to Eubanks at short, who made a nice play of gobbling up the ball and forcing the runner out at second.
The Tigers added four more runs in the sixth, sending 10 batters to the plate. Matt Lilley and Bland started the inning by drawing walks before Warren dropped down a perfect bunt to load the bases. Lilley and Bland both scored when House reached on an error. Warren later scored on a wild pitch, while House came home after Francis drew a bases-loaded walk.
Warren also scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to make it 10-1. That helped take some pressure off, though Warren said the team will continue to face pressure throughout the season.
The senior retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning, getting two outs by strikeout.
The Tigers return to action Tuesday at Washington.
Williamston 300 204 1 -- 10 8 1
Roanoke Rapids 000 010 0 -- 1 1 3
WP: Brad Roach; LP: Michael Powell
W -- Trey Warren 2-5 (3 runs), Anthony Williams 2-3, J.J. House 1-3 (2B, 2 runs), Brody Bland 1-1 (2 runs), David Francis 1-3 (2 RBI), Brad Roach 1-4; RR -- Chris Clapton 1-3.