Down 12-7 in the fifth inning, the Laurinburg squad battled their way back from the 5-run deficit to remain in contention for the state title, rallying for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth frame to earn a 14-12 victory over Southern Pitt to keep their championship hopes alive.
Laurinburg tallied 12 hits in the win, including three in the 7-run fifth, outscoring Southern Pitt 8-3 in the game’s final two innings to advance through the elimination bracket.
Southern Pitt looked poised to eliminate the hometown team after the first 2-1/2 innings, working their way to a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the third inning.
Down by five, Laurinburg strung together four hits in the frame to tie the contest at 6-6, jump starting the inning’s scoring with a 2-RBI single from leftfielder Mark Williams. Williams’ base knock plated Blake Hickman and Tyler Faulk, cutting Southern Pitt’s lead to 6-3 with one out in the frame.
Two batters later, Dalton Gibson sailed a shot into the outfield to score Williams and second baseman Sam Poole, with Gibson recording a stand-up double to get Laurinburg within one of the visitors.
A Matt Williams single to end the inning plated Gibson, tying the game up at 6-6 heading into the fourth,
Southern Pitt struck for three runs in the fourth, but Laurinburg tallied a score in the inning on a Faulk single.
Southern Pitt added three more runs in the fifth on one hit before Laurinburg’s game-clinching rally in the second-half of the inning.
Down 12-7 heading into what would be their final at-bat, things fell perfectly into place for Laurinburg.
A Matt Williams’ leadoff walk and an error at second put Williams and starting pitcher Luke Johnson on base, and a single from Chris Lawrence loaded the bases for Hickman.
Hickman drew a walk to bring in Williams, scoring Laurinburg’s first of many runs in the final frame.
Johnson reached home on a passed ball and back-to-back walks by Southern Pitt allowed Lawrence and Hickman to cross home to put Laurinburg down 12-11 without an out in the inning.
Poole drove in the game’s tying run with a single up the middle to score Brett Jacobs, and Gibson tallied Laurinburg’s go-ahead run with a single, scoring Faulk and Williams to give Laurinburg their first lead of the game.
Jacobs shut out Southern Pitt in the sixth inning, sending Laurinburg on through to the next round of the tournament.
Four different Laurinburg players picked up multiple hits in the win, with Matt Williams, Mark Williams and Poole finishing with two hits apiece.
Gibson finished with a 3-for-4 day at the plate to pace Laurinburg, while also taking the game’s MVP award.
Jacobs picked up the win on the mound for Laurinburg.