Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rocky Mount Telegram Gryphon Slideshow

To get some glimpses of the action from Friday and Saturday's NCHSAA Games 1, 2 and 3 of 3-A state championship action with the Gryphons and East Rowan, click here to see a slideshow from the Rocky Mount Telegram!

Pictures taken by former Gryphon player Tom Jones will be forthcoming!

Leggett gets career win No. 28 as RM gets one game closer to a 3-A title

ZEBULON – A balanced Rocky Mount offensive attack banged out 10 hits and the Gryphons held off East Rowan 7-4 in the first game of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A baseball championship series on Friday at Five County Stadium.

East Rowan jumped in front 2-0 in the bottom of the first, but Rocky Mount tied it in the second when a run scored on a double play and then Collins Cuthrell delivered a run-scoring single to tie the game.

The Gryphons took a 5-2 lead with three in the fourth, with Gabe Brown’s two-run single the key blow, but East battled back to slice it 5-4 on Zack Smith’s two-out, two-run double. Rocky Mount then added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth after a two-out error, a triple by William Barringer that scored a run and then an RBI single by Grant Johnson.

Chris Berry was the only Gryphon with two hits. Every RMHS starter collected at least one hit. The bottom of the Gryphons' lineup was very effective - with batters Nos. 7-9 going 3-for-9 with five RBI and two runs scored.

Senior righthander Jim Leggett (8-3) went the route on the mound for the winners, allowing just three hits and getting his 28th career victory, to extend his Rocky Mount school record, while Corbin Shive was charged with the loss (11-2).

Smith provided the offensive punch for East Rowan with two hits in three trips and three runs batted in. The Mustangs dropped to 28-4 overall while Rocky Mount improved to a school record 26-5.

Game two in the best-of-three series is set for Saturday morning at eleven o’clock as Rocky Mount seeks to close out the series and win its first NCHSAA baseball title since 1980. Game three, if necessary, would be played Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m.

Five County Stadium, Zebulon

Rocky Mount 0 2 0 3 0 2 0 – 7 10 1
East Rowan 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 – 4 3 1

WP—Jim Leggett (8-3)
LP—Corbin Shive (11-2)

Leading hitters: Rocky Mount - Chris Berry 2-4, R; Ben Fish 1-2, R; Jim Leggett 1-2, R; Collins Cuthrell 1-3, 2 RBI, R; Gabe Brown 1-3, 2 RBI, R; Dillon Cockrell 1-3, RBI; Brian Goodwin 1-3; William Barringer 1-4, 3B, RBI, R; Grant Johnson 1-4. East Rowan - Zach Smith 2-3, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI; Ethan Fisher 1-3, 2B.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Barnes gets offer from Wake Forest; two Gryphons get special Shrine Bowl combine invite

Rocky Mount offensive lineman Whit Barnes received a football scholarship offer from Wake Forest University this week. The rising senior also received a scholarship offer from Duke University a few weeks ago.

But there will be more schools to chose from for the hard-working lineman.

He and defensive secondary specialist-kick returner Brian Goodwin have been invited to a select Shrine Bowl football combine to be held Saturday at Burlington Williams High School. The top 130 or so players who attended earlier regional combines have been invited to this special combine to receive more scrutiny from N.C. Shrine Bowl head coach Gary Fowler (Clayton) and his staff.

Barnes will be attending the combine, but Goodwin has some more pressing issues Saturday - trying to win a state baseball championship in Zebulon.

The Championship Venue

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON - site of the NCHSAA 3-A, 4-A State Baseball Championship Series

Name: Five County sits in Wake County and is in earshot of Nash, Johnston, Franklin and Wilson.
History: Five County opened on July 3, 1991.
Dimensions: LF-330, CF-400, RF-330; Capacity: 6,500
Scoreboard: Made by Daktronics.
Videoboard: Made by Lighthouse

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rocky Mount's Championship Results

Here are the results of the all the state championship games Rocky Mount has played in since winning its first title in 1963. Thanks to Ernie Murray for the complete 1963 and 1965 series scores.

1963 - 4-A Series
Rocky Mount 2, Greensboro Page
Rocky Mount 11, Greensboro Page 6
(RM wins series 2-0)

1965 - 4-A Series
Garinger 4, Rocky Mount 3
Garinger 2, Rocky Mount 1
(RM loses series 0-2)

1967 - 4-A Series
Game 1: Rocky Mount 7, West Mecklenburg 5
Game 2: West Mecklenburg 2, Rocky Mount 1
Game 3: Rocky Mount 4, West Mecklenburg 1
(RM wins series 2-1)

1973 - 4-A Series
Game 1: North Mecklenburg 5, Rocky Mount 2
Game 2: Rocky Mount 6, North Mecklenburg 3
Game 3: Rocky Mount 4, North Mecklenburg 1
(RM wins series 2-1)

1980 - 4-A Series
Game 1: Rocky Mount 7, Greensboro Grimsley 2
Game 2: Rocky Mount 7, Greensboro Grimsley 2
(RM wins series 2-0)

2008 - 3-A Series
Game 1: Rocky Mount 7, East Rowan 4
Game 2: East Rowan 6, Rocky Mount 2
Game 3: Rocky Mount 8, East Rowan 6
(RM wins series 2-1)

Gryphons set to play Friday at Five County Stadium




Game 1: Friday, May 30, 5 p.m.

Game 2: Saturday, May 31, 11 a.m.

Game 3: if necessary,

Saturday, May 31, 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gryphons look good for No. 5

Rocky Mount senior pitcher Jim Leggett threw an astounding 61 pitchers in his complete-game, three-hit shutout of Wilson Fike Wednesday evening. (Photo/David Hahula)

(Note: Guys, here's Wilson Daily Times sports editor Paul Durham's blog entry after Rocky Mount's win over Fike Wednesday evening.)

By Paul Durham
Wilson Daily Times

WILSON - The season ended again in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A baseball playoffs for Fike.

This time, it was NEW 6 Conference archrival Rocky Mount that sent the Golden Demons home. A year ago, Charles B. Aycock got past Fike on the way to the 3-A state title.

My money, if I had any, would be on Fike being ousted by another state champion.

I felt that going into Wednesday night's East Regional semifinal at Fike was the best matchup of remaining teams. Granted, I do plead a certain amount of ignorance about the West Regional semifinalists. But recent history has taught me the East might have the better baseball teams in the NCHSAA.

While I was thinking Fike had a championship-caliber team, I knew that Rocky Mount does for five reasons — pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching.

You see, as the NCHSAA playoffs turn into best-of-3 series at the regional and state championships, pitching depth becomes the single biggest factor in a team's success, in my humble opinion.

There's no doubt a team can ride a couple of hot bats and obscure mediocre pitching through the single-elimination part of the playoffs. But in order to win four games in five or six days (as is the case with the regional semifinals and finals) and then play a best-of-3 in two days in the state finals, you'd better have more than one good pitcher.

Fike had two pretty good pitchers in senior Bentley Massey and sophomore William Prince. I have to believe that if Demons head coach Will Flowers called on them, either Tripp Sauls, Matthew Pittman, Jacob Davis or Mitchell Wheeler could have given a credible effort on the mound.

But that's a moot point now.

It's the Gryphons who are headed to Winterville on Friday night to play D.H. Conley, a 1-0 victor against South Central on Wednesday night.

And Rocky Mount has four solid arms with more than 30 innings pitched this season plus junior Nick Hahula who emerged at midseason as a hard-throwing option.Gryphons head coach Pat Smith can use Hahula, Benton Moss, Chris Berry or Dillon Cockrell in the first two games and still have ace Jim Leggett, Wednesday night's winner, for some innings Saturday.

If Rocky Mount makes it to the 3-A finals, its mound quintet will have seven days of rest.

That's why I'm taking the Gryphons to win the fifth state title in school history.

By the way, the starting shortstop on Rocky Mount's 1973 4-A state champion was none other than Phil Ford, who opted to play basketball in college.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thunderstorms move many 4th round baseball playoff games to Wednesday

Rocky Mount's Jim Leggett dives back to third base after escaping a rundown in the Gryphons' 3-1 NCHSAA third-round playoff win over South Johnston Saturday evening. (Photo/David Hahula)

Here are the pairings for the NCHSAA baseball state regional semifinals (Round 4).

All games were set for Tuesday. However, a long line of thunderstorms crossed the state late Tuesday afternoon and evening - forcing many postponements to Wednesday (bold face).



Leesville Road (17-8) at Greenville Rose (23-3), ppd., Wed.
Wilmington Hoggard (20-4) at. Raleigh Sanderson (17-6), ppd., Wed


North Davidson (23-3) at Charlotte Ardrey Kell (25-4), ppd., Wed.
Charlotte Providence 10, South Caldwell 4



South Central (12-14) at DH Conley (17-9), ppd., Wed., 7 p.m.
Rocky Mount (22-5) at Wilson Fike (21-4), ppd., Wed., 7 p.m.


East Rowan 5, Mooresville 4
South Point 1, Rutherfordton-Spindale Central 0



Whiteville 4, South Lenoir 3
Hillsborough Orange (21-3) at North Lenoir (21-1), ppd., Wed.


Ledford 11, Starmount 0
East Rutherford 9, Lenoir Hibriten 4



Princeton (16-10) at Williamston (18-7), ppd., Wed.
Hampstead Topsail 7, Heidi Trask 1


South Stokes 8, Bishop McGuinness 3
Cherryville 5, Polk County 4

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rocky Mount football moving to 1390 AM

- RMSH alum Wes Bradshaw

When ESPN Sports Radio 1490 AM decided earlier this spring to not broadcast Rocky Mount football games on the air, the biggest Rocky Mount sports fan in Rocky Mount just wouldn't stand for it.

Ummm, now I am pretty big, but this guy is even bigger - physically and in his love for Gryphon sports - in particular, Rocky Mount varsity football!

Wes Bradshaw (RMSH Class of 2000) has been part of many Gryphon football radio broadcasts with 1490 as a color commentator.

Due to 1490's indifference to perhaps showcase possibly one of Rocky Mount's best teams in recent memory, Bradshaw has taken things into his own hands.

He has worked out a deal for Gryphon football to be on the radio as Rocky Mount will be returning to its roots - WEED 1390 AM. The station carried Rocky Mount football, lastly with Steve Dickens and myself providing area fans all the Gryphon gridiron action.

But Hurricane Floyd did in the broadcast three games into the 1999 season as the station, then located off Sunset Ave. just past Sam's Club, was flooded and destroyed.

The station, now called 1390 .. The Word, is a soul gospel station now, but was extremely receptive to having Rocky Mount football back on the air.

And for you Rocky Mount football fans living on the outskirts of town, 1390 AM has a stronger signal at night than 1490 AM - so that will be a plus!

We'll have more details about the broadcast as summer progresses, but Bradshaw will need the help of all area businesses who have been past sponsors of Rocky Mount football on-the-air, and all those new clients who might want to get on board.

After all, the product is first-class. RMHS was 14-1 last season and is 57-10 over the last five seasons. With 18 starters coming back next season, hopes are high for the best season ever!

And you businesses out there, you can go along for the ride!

Contact Bradshaw at 452-3280 or email him at if you're interested in commercial time on the broadcast or any other advertising issues.

I'm pretty glad Bradshaw, who will handle play-by-play duties on the broadcast, has decided to make this undertaking. I just can't imagine Rocky Mount football playing to dead air!

NOTE: RM football will be a part of a "Game of the Week" series on WZAX 99.3 FM, but only two to three select games.

Hudgins voted Male Athlete of the Year at Elon

ELON – Sophomore All-American football wide receiver Terrell Hudgins (Rocky Mount, N.C./Rocky Mount) came away with Stein H. Basnight Outstanding Male Athlete Award honors to top all accolades bestowed at the 34th Annual Elon University Athletics Awards Banquet Tuesday evening at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Stein H. Basnight Outstanding Athlete Award has been presented annually since 1958 in memory of the late Stein H. Basnight of Chapel Hill by his family to the most outstanding Phoenix male and female athletes of the year, as determined by the Elon Department of Athletics’ administrative staff. Jesse Basnight, Jr. and his wife, Janis Basnight, represented the Basnight family at the banquet.

Hudgins logged 10 Elon, Southern Conference or NCAA records while pacing the Elon football team to its best season in eight years last fall. The Walter Payton Award finalist led the Football Championship Subdivision in receptions and receiving yards per game on his way to earning not only First Team All-Southern Conference recognition, but First Team All-America accolades as well. Behind Hudgins’ performances, Elon finished the 2007 campaign ranked 23rd in the FCS in both The Sports Network and the coaches polls.

Nash County winners!

Former Nash County standouts Brian Allen (Southern Nash) and Zach Woodley (Northern Nash), now freshman members of the Pitt Community College baseball team, hold the championship plaque at the NJCAA Region X tournament in Burlington on May 11. The Bulldogs won the tournament with a 6-1 victory over Louisburg College.

(Photo - Courtesy of Terry Woodley)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Until this season, the last time Rocky Mount's baseball team ...

... won a playoff game was ...

May 8, 2001 - Rocky Mount 5, Hillsborough Orange 0

At Orange, Rocky Mount senior pitcher Carter Harrell threw a one-hitter and struck out a school-record 19 batters en route to the win. RMHS had eight hits and Orange helped the Gryphons' cause with three errors. Future UNC signee Paul Jenkins was 3-for-3.

... had a no-hitter in the postseason was ...

May 9, 2000 - Rocky Mount 2, New Hanover 0

After recording seven one-hitters in his career, Carter Harrell finally got his first and only no-no in this first-round 4-A playoff matchup. He struck out 10 and walked one that evening, while RMHS got six hits and one run each in the second and sixth (a Harrell RBI-double). Not a bad effort outing since that Wildcat lineup included dangerous hitters in twins Darryl and Trevor Lawhorn - both of whom eventually went on to play at East Carolina.

.... won a second-round playoff game was ...

May 11, 2000 - Rocky Mount 3, South Johnston 1 (8 innings)

At South Johnston in the 4-A playoffs, Paul Jenkins not only got the win (five-hitter, 9 Ks), but he hit a two-run home run over the right-center field fence to help give RMHS a 3-1 victory. The head coach of South Johnston that day - our very own Pat Smith!

... won at least 20 games in consecutive seasons was ...

1995 and 1996

RMHS was 23-3 in 1995 and 23-4 in 1996. The 1995 squad lost to New Hanover in the third round, while the 1996 team fell to Lee County in the 4-A East finals - no best-of-three back in those days!

... scored as many as nine runs in a postseason game was ...

May 15, 1998 - Rocky Mount 9, Hope Mills South View 3

These two teams played in Cumberland Co. Down 3-2 going into the seventh, the Gryphs struck for seven runs to blow the game open. The winning pitcher - Rocky Mount assistant coach Jason Battle - who hurled a three-hitter.

... played a scheduled doubleheader was ...

March 19, 1999 - RM 5, Douglas Byrd 0; RM 5, Douglas Byrd 0

With both games going five innings, Rocky Mount swept visiting Douglas Byrd. Jon-Charles Harrell, older brother of Carter, got the win in both games. He allowed two hits and struck out six in the opener, and gave up three hits and K'ed three in the nightcap. Jimmy Bullard helped him out with a home run in the first contest, while brother Carter blasted one in game 2. RMHS had seven hits in each game. This season, RMHS split two-seven innings games at Gryphon Stadium with South Granville .. a 4-0 win, and a 6-5 defeat.

... won four straight Rocky Mount Invitational Baseball Tournament titles was ...

1994, 1995, 1996, 1997

RM beat Beddingfied in 1994 finals (7-2) and the Bruins again (6-0) in 1995, then stopped Northern Nash 8-5 in 1996 and beat Durham Jordan 6-2 in 1997. The current RMHS four-title winning streak is as follows:
  • 2008 - Rocky Mount def. Northern Nash, 6-5, to finish 3-0 in round-robin format
  • 2007 - Rocky Mount def. Southern Nash, 13-1
  • 2006 - Rocky Mount def. Northern Nash, 6-2
  • 2005 - Rocky Mount def. Northern Nash, 5-2

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Barnes gets football scholarship offer from Duke

- RMHS offensive lineman Whit Barnes

When Rocky Mount offensive lineman Whit Barnes opened his mail Thursday afternoon, he had to catch his breath.

He received a letter from the Duke University football staff offering him a scholarship to play college football for the Blue Devils - under new head coach David Cutcliffe. To say he and his parents, Russ and Martha Barnes, were on Cloud 9 would be an understatement. An opportunity to get a free college education from Duke is what they thought most of. Football took a back-burner - at least for a few moments.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound rising senior, who sports a 4.1 GPA, was named to the 3-A All-State team after helping the Gryphons to a 14-1 season last year. He assisted RMHS in setting a school record for rushing yardage and total offense in 2007.Several more offers may come in before Barnes decides to accept Duke's.

With 18 starters coming back this fall, many feel this might be the year for the senior-ladened Gryphons. Barnes and many of his senior teammates may get several offers each before the first Wednesday of February, national signing day, rolls around.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jenkins out of the hospital

Just as I was about to do blog feature on former Rocky Mount athlete Oliver (O.J.) Jenkins, he suddenly makes news for the wrong reason.
A senior center fielder for N.C. Central in its first season playing at the Div. I level, Jenkins and his Eagle teammates were playing the second game of a doubleheader at Chowan University last Saturday (April 26) when Jenkins ran into a pole in the outfield fence trying to make a catch.

Jenkins' injury was so serious that he was rushed to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville where he spent time in the Intensive Care Unit. He apparently injured a kidney, but luckily it never stopped functioning.

He was released by midweek from the hospital and is recuperating at home.

Before his injury, the former Juan Chesson Award winner at RMHS had started 31 of 32 games for the Eagles and led the team in at-bats (101), runs scored (20) and base-on-balls (15). He was an All-CIAA performer last year.

Jenkins has played football the last four seasons as a wide receiver and long snapper.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Highlights of Fike-Rocky Mount baseball game

To watch highlights of Rocky Mount's 9-8, 11-inning loss at Wilson Fike Tuesday evening, click here:

The Holt Connection continues

Former Rocky Mount assistant football coach Brent David is now the head football coach at Winston-Salem Carver.

He is the 15th gentleman to have coached under or played for Rocky Mount head football coach B.W. Holt to become a high school head football coach.

David was an assistant at RMHS for four seasons before leaving in 2007 an assistant position at Carver - nearer the hometown of him and his wife in High Point. The last three seasons here he was the defensive coordinator.

Here is the list of those 15 men:

Brent David - head coach , Winston-Salem Carver ...... asst. to Holt at Rocky Mount

Scott Cummings - head coach, Knoxville-West (Tn.) ..... asst. to Holt at Tennessee High (Tn.)
Greg Stubbs - head coach, Tennessee High (Tn.) ..... asst. to Holt at Tennessee High (Tn.)

Scott Johnson, head coach, Starmount ..... asst. to Holt at Starmount
Joe Hutchens, head coach, Starmount ..... asst. to Holt at Starmount
Joey Weatherman, head coach, Dixon .... played for Holt at Starmount

Monte Chipman, head coach, East Wilkes ..... played for Holt at Starmount

Elbert Thomas, head coach, West Montgomery ..... asst. to Holt at West Montgomery, played for Holt at Starmount

Steve Johnson, head coach, Cummings ...... played for Holt at Franklinton

Dickie Schock, head coach, Orange/Franklinton ..... played for Holt at Starmount, asst. at West Montgomery/Rocky Mount

Charlie Haire, head coach, Wilkes Central, West Montgomery ...... asst. to Holt at Starmount

Tim Pruitt, head coach , Watauga, West Wilkes, Cherryville ...... asst. to Holt at Starmount

Tommy Piper, head coach, Franklinton ..... played for Holt at Franklinton, asst. to Holt at Franklinton
Stu Holt, head coach, New Smyrna Beach (Fl.) ...... played for Holt at Starmount

Chad Smith, head coach, Northern Nash ...... asst. to Holt at West Montgomery, Rocky Mount