Seahawks crowned conference champs

Published 8:09 pm Sunday, May 10, 2009

By Staff
Staff Reports
CHOCOWINITY — It was well worth the wait.
The Southside Seahawks topped the Williamston Tigers, 5-2, on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The victory not only clinched the Atlantic Conference championship for the Seahawks, but it also gave them the top seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A state playoffs.
The conference championship and playoff berth are both firsts for the Southside baseball program.
The Seahawks (13-8, 10-4) got an outstanding pitching performance from Eric Boyd, who pitched a complete-game gem. The senior allowed the two runs (one earned) on four hits, while striking out 10 and walking three in the seven innings.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Southside responded with a pair of runs in the fifth off Williamston starting pitcher Heath Rogerson, who suffered the loss.
Willie Ruffin (2-3, 2B, 2 runs) started the rally with a single. Eric Boyd (2-3, 2B, RBI) ripped a double to score Ruffin. Brad Boyd (2-4, RBI) followed with a single to score Eric Boyd for a 2-1 lead.
Williamston, which finished runner-up in the Atlantic Conference and also qualified for the playoffs, tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth. Coach Hank Tice and his Tigers will play host to the second seed out of the Southeastern Conference on Friday.
The Seahawks answered with three runs in the bottom half. Kevin Sparks slapped a single to start the uprising. Sparks went to third on a fielding error and later scored on Ryan McLawhorn’s hit.
Ruffin stroked a double for his second hit of the game. After Eric Boyd was intentionally walked, Brad Boyd reached on a fielder’s choice. Ruffin scooted home on an error, while a single by Jamie Blackard (2-3, 2B, RBI) scored Eric Boyd for a 5-2 lead.
Fittingly, the seniors provided the bulk of the leadership in the victory. The seniors — Eric Boyd, Brad Boyd, Blackard, Sparks, McLawhorn and Alarie Elks, are a special group, according to Lewis.
The Seahawks will host a playoff game on Friday. They will play a wild-card entry in the first round, and will remain home for the next couple rounds if they keep winning.
The Seahawks, who earned a forfeit-victory over Northside after the Panthers season came to a close early, will begin their first playoff preparation on Monday.
Lewis is glad his team will be able to play in front of the hometown faithful.
W 000 101 0 – 2 4 3
S 000 023 x – 5 11 2
WP: Eric Boyd; LP: Heath Rogerson
Eric Boyd 2-3 (2B, RBI), Brad Boyd 2-4 (RBI), Jamie Blackard 2-3 (2B, RBI), Willie Ruffin 2-3 (2 runs, 2B)