White, Aces nearly no-hit Pirates in win
John A. Holmes 6 Perquimans 0
By David Gough
Thursday, April 18, 2019
EDENTON — Tuesday night’s baseball game at Historic Hicks Field between John A. Holmes and Perquimans meant a lot toward the Albemarle Athletic Conference regular season championship.
The Aces would earn the conference title with a win, while a Perquimans win would keep the Pirates alive and make today’s game between the two in Hertford a de facto regular season championship.
But junior pitcher Ryan White made sure his Aces locked up the regular season title on Tuesday at home as he blanked Perquimans through six innings and led John A. Holmes to a 6-0 victory.
The right-hander flirted with a no-hitter until the final batter he faced. It wasn’t until Pirates senior Michael Brasseur led off with a single to left field to begin the game’s final frame that Perquimans (10-6, 4-3 Albemarle Athletic) finally got a hit.
Before then, White was nearly perfect through six. One walk in the fifth to junior Spencer Loftis was the only base runner he had allowed until Brasseur’s hit.
“He was outstanding,” John A. Holmes coach Robert Jordan said. “He keeps getting better. In a pressure situation and what was at stake, I think tonight was his best.”
White retired the first 14 batters he faced Tuesday and struck out six in his six-plus innings of work.
“My fastballs and curveballs, they felt nice and smooth,” White said. “As soon as I got the three outs in the first inning, I just felt like we were all together and we were going to get it done.”
Sophomore Caleb Bunch came in relief for White immediately following the Brasseur hit and retired the next three batters to finish the game.
White was given a nice standing ovation by the crowd at Historic Hicks Field when he left the mound.
“(White) was sharp and kept us off balance,” Perquimans coach Justin Roberson said. “Tough to win a baseball game against a good team with one hit.”
Edenton (13-3, 7-0 AAC) took the lead and never looked back with some timely hitting in the second inning from the bottom of the order.
Facing a full count with two outs and a runner on first, eight-hole hitter Peyton Brabble lined a baseball over the left fielder’s head for a double and the game’s first run.
Following that was junior Parker Clayton singling to score Brabble and jump out in front 2-0 against Perquimans freshman Jacob Meads.
“For the bottom of the order to produce like that, it’s key,” Jordan said. “I call (Clayton) our second leadoff man. He’s been doing a great job in that spot and (Brabble’s) hit was huge to get us our first run.”
Jordan said that Clayton began the season as the second hitter in the lineup.
Aside from White helping his own cause out with an RBI double the next inning, the Aces didn’t strike again until the fifth.
With two runners on and one out, sophomore Chris Morris doubled to the right-center gap to add on two runs.
Morris then scored from third on a safety squeeze bunt by Brabble two batters later. The three-run inning gave John A. Holmes a 6-0 advantage.
“It was anybody’s ballgame at that point,” Jordan said. “but that inning took a lot of wind out of (Perquimans’) sails. Kind of took some pressure off us.”
The Aces finished with seven total hits in the game. Morris was 1-for-1 at the plate with two walks, two RBI and two runs scored.
It was senior night in Edenton as only two seniors, Wes Privott and Chace Kelly, were honored before the game.
“With a young group, we’ve been up and down and haven’t really hit the ball all that well, but we pitch and play good defense. Seems like we scratch just enough runs to win,” Jordan said.
While Tuesday’s game had the regular season conference title on the line, Roberson still says there’s a lot to play for when they host Edenton today despite losing to it on Tuesday night.
Seeding is still up for grabs in the conference tournament.
“(Thursday’s game) could decide whether we finish second or third, so we’re still playing for something,” he said. “We’re still playing for a berth in the playoffs and I think we’re a good enough team to make a run in the playoffs.”