Colts ride homers to comeback victory

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 27, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Christian Upchurch and Skylar White homered as the Suffolk Colts won their first game of the 12U tournament Saturday afternoon at Diamond Springs Park, coming back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat Outer Banks (OB) 6-4. The Colts played their second game at 5:45 p.m. Saturday (not completed at press time) and return to competition at 11 a.m. today against Greenbrier.

Neither team threatened for the first two innings, but the OB bats came to life in the bottom of the third. Nathan Brake singled, and Justin Rudolph and Bobby Dixon reached on errors, during which Brake came in. Singles by Bud Bishop and G.W. Robinson knocked home Rudolph and Dixon, and Brian Wooldridge drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Robinson.

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The Colts bucked right back in the top of the fourth. With one out, White singled to left field, and Justin Hike went in to pinch-run. James Gatling eked out an infield single, and Hike scored on an error. Upchurch then blasted a homer over the right-centerfield fence, and the Colts were within one.

&uot;I was just hoping that it wasn’t a pop-up,&uot; Upchurch said. &uot;But I didn’t feel it when I hit it, and if you hear it hit but don’t feel it, you know it’s pretty much gone.

J.R. Crowder came in to pitch, and kept OB from reaching third. Seth Potter lead off with a walk for Suffolk in the fifth. Crowder bunted him to second, and Potter reached third on a passed ball. Rufus Artis bounced a single off the right field fence, and Potter tied the score. Artis stole his way to third, and scored on a suicide squeeze by Sam Howell, giving the Colts their first lead.

White dropped his home run inches over the fence to open the sixth, but the Colts still only had a two-run cushion heading into the final half-inning.

&uot;I was nervous,&uot; Crowder said, &uot;but my coaches told me to throw strikes and let my defense back me up.&uot; He inadvertently disobeyed, striking out the last two batters to end the game.

&uot;I just threw, and they kept swinging,&uot; he said.

&uot;I was at second base by the time I knew it was gone,&uot; White said of his round-tripper. &uot;We always knew we could come back.&uot;

He and Upchurch will get another shot to show off their hitting skills at 2:15 p.m. today when five players from each of the tournament’s four teams compete in a home run derby. On the Diamond Springs Mustang field, each player will receive five swings until a champion is crowned. The final games will be played at 4 and 6 p.m.