ROCKY MOUNT — Rocky Mount’s Ben Yates is not your typical hitter in the ninth spot in the batting order. He isn’t very fast, but he is very aggressive at the plate, which is what Corinth Holders was not Thursday in dropping a 5-1, non-conference verdict.
The Pirates managed just two hits off of Gryphons’ starter Cody Smith and reliever Will Edwards in dropping their fourth consecutive game and slipped to 2-4. Smith, wild in the opening innings, allowed one hit in four innings of work, while walking five batters and striking out seven.
Two of those five walks opened the game for the Pirates, who pushed across a run on a sacrifice by Jake Lewis and a grounder back to Smith by Nick Peach. Smith was late fielding Peach’s come-backer, enabling Tyler Barrett, who had drawn the lead off walk, to score.
Barrett worked Smith for a one-out walk in the third, and Lewis drew a two-out pass, followed by an infield hit to load the bases. But Smith enticed Cameron Brewer into a weak pop fly to end the inning, and the Pirates never threatened again.
Edwards picked up the save for the Gryphons, striking out one batter and yielding one hit over three innings.
“Right now, we’re struggling at the plate.” said Pirates coach Adam Weaver. “We’re working on it, but unfortunately, it just hasn’t happened for us yet.
“We’ve had a couple of games go like that for us, but hopefully we can get things to change with a little more practice.”
Rocky Mount, which upped its record to 2-4 in avenging a Feb. 27 loss (7-2) to the Pirates, saw Yates deliver a pair of two run singles that rallied the Gryphons of the Big East 3A Conference.
Yates’ first two-run single came in the bottom of the second, giving the Gryphons the lead for good, driving in Edwards, Logan Smith and Rashon Harris, who had lashed consecutive singles prior to Yates’ at-bat.
Rocky Mount pounded out 10 hits in the contest, with the second-inning onslaught coming against starting pitcher Tate Procter.
Yates’ second blow, a one-out, two-run single to left, pushed across Logan Smith, who had doubled, and Harris, who reached on a bunt single.
“The first rally, our pitchers struggled in getting ahead in the count,” Weaver said. “When you don’t get ahead in the count, it’s tough to pitch and you are basically throwing batting practice up there and they (Gryphons) were finding holes.”
Weaver lifted Proctor for Justin Hodge to start the third, but the Gryphons quickly founds answers to him in the fourth.
“We put ourselves in a bad position in the fourth,” Weaver said. “We made two really bad mistakes, and they put runners on and were able to capitalize on it.”
Logan Smith, Harris and Yates each enjoyed 2-for-3 days for the Gryphons.