BEAUFORT — The East Carteret baseball team started its first round 1A state playoff game Friday with a hit and never stopped hitting in a 15-0 demolition of visiting Rosewood.
The Mariners scored the 15 runs off 12 hits in the first four innings to make quick work of their opponent in the five-inning, 10-run mercy-rule contest.
“We put it together tonight,” East coach Jason Salter said. “I’m never satisfied, but it’s hard to complain about our effort in this one.”
East has now won 10 consecutive games to stand at 13-6. The Mariners, the Coastal Plains Conference (CPC) champions, dropped Rosewood, the No. 4 seed from the Carolina Conference, to a 7-16 mark.
Trey Russell hardly needed such a prodigious output from the offense. The senior righty surrendered just one hit and one walk during his five innings on the mound. Russell consistently stayed ahead in the count, throwing 18 first-pitch strikes to the 20 batters he faced.
“Trey did a great job tonight,” Salter said. “Our pitching staff has been excellent all year long. Their numbers tell the story. Their ERA was 1.21 before this one. It has to be under one now.”
The East pitching staff has thrown four shutouts during the 10-game win streak.
Jaden Fulcher got his team on the board in the first inning when he ripped a 0-2 pitch to left center field to score two runs. Trevor Willis plated another runner on a groundout to give the home team an early 3-0 lead.
Willis was filling in for fellow freshman Austin Goodwin, who injured his foot earlier in the day.
“We’ve lost two starters recently with Joseph Lewis getting injured,” Salter said. “It’s not ideal, but I have a lot of confidence in the guys that have taken their spots. Trevor did a good job. He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he’s very athletic, and you can teach an athlete to play baseball.”
Willis capped a five-run second inning with a two-out, two-RBI single.
Fulcher scored two in the bottom of the third with a double deep to right field. Fulcher went 3-for-4 with a run and registered four RBIs. Mark Carraway finished a perfect night at the plate in the fourth with a two-RBI double. He went 4-for-4 and scored four runs.
Ty Mason went 2-for-4, and Kody Easton, Chandler Taylor, Jacob Fraley and Russell each collected one hit.
The Mariners will next host CPC rival Dixon in the second round on Tuesday. East holds a four-game win streak in the series. The Beaufort club had not won a game versus the Bulldogs in six years before breaking through last season with a victory.
“It’s a little bit scary to play Dixon, because we’ve got a bit of a streak going against them, and it’s difficult to keep beating the same team over and over,” Salter said. “Their coaching staff is really good, so we are going to have to be ready.”
Dixon, the No. 3 seed from the CPC, improved to 15-9 and advanced to the second round thanks to a 3-1 win over Ayden-Grifton (17-7) in 10 innings.
East opened this season 3-2 but proceeded to lose four straight. The squad hasn’t lost since.
The Mariners’ last defeat came on March 26 in a 5-4 contest at Pamlico that lasted 11 innings.
All of the Mariners’ seven losses this season have come by three runs or less, including three by one run, two by two and one by three. The squad hasn’t allowed more than five runs in a game, giving up just five on two occasions.
Here are results of the game:
Team R H E
Rosewood……….000 00 - 0 1 2
East Carteret.........353 4x - 15 12 3
WP – Russell
Rosewood leading hitters: Howell 1-2.
East Carteret leading hitters: Carraway 4-4 (2B), 2 RBIs, 4 runs; Fulcher 3-4 (2B), 4 RBIs, run; Mason 2-4, 2 runs; Willis 1-2, 3 RBIs; Easton 1-2, 2 runs; Taylor 1-3, RBI, run; Russell 1-3, run; Fraley 1-4 (3B), run.