Pembroke Post 50’s Sam Brewington throws a pitch during Monday’s junior American Legion baseball doubleheader against St. Pauls Post 5 in Pembroke.
                                 Chris Stiles | The Robesonian

Pembroke Post 50’s Sam Brewington throws a pitch during Monday’s junior American Legion baseball doubleheader against St. Pauls Post 5 in Pembroke.

Chris Stiles | The Robesonian

<p>St. Pauls Post 5’s Gabriel Priest throws a pitch to a Pembroke Post 50 batter during Monday’s junior American Legion baseball doubleheader in Pembroke.</p>
                                 <p>Chris Stiles | The Robesonian</p>

St. Pauls Post 5’s Gabriel Priest throws a pitch to a Pembroke Post 50 batter during Monday’s junior American Legion baseball doubleheader in Pembroke.

Chris Stiles | The Robesonian

PEMBROKE — The Pembroke Post 50 junior American Legion baseball team started slow in Monday’s doubleheader against St. Pauls Post 5.

But Post 50 came to life in its last at-bat to win the first game of the twin bill — and carried that momentum into a lopsided win in the nightcap.

Pembroke won 5-4 and 12-2 over St. Pauls in the first in-county battles between the two first-year programs.

“I was kind of thinking we’d come out flat because we had so many missing pieces — doing other things that they should be doing through the summer and that’s great. But we put it together at the end,” Pembroke head coach Tim Carter said. “The momentum fed into the second game and I think we played like we should be able to play. These kids can play; it’s just a matter of finding our — grind. Day after day, you’ve got to get used to playing baseball day after day.”

St. Pauls led the first of two five-inning games 4-1 entering the bottom of the fourth. Jacob Chavis and Keithyn Hunt led off the frame with hits for Pembroke, with Hunt’s plating Chavis; Hunt came home on an error, and after two walks Jaythan Locklear singled with two outs to score Cam Hunt and Easton Oxendine for a 5-4 lead.

“I had it 0-1 on me and I said I’ve got to get me a hit and win this game. I barreled it up and scored the run,” Jaythan Locklear said. “We hit a lot and I had to finish it off so we could win the first game. We didn’t really do good the first game but we came out the second game and did great.”

St. Pauls’ lead was built with first-inning RBI hits by Jaylen Jacobs and Gabriel Priest, a third-inning RBI groundout by Jaylon Oxendine and a fourth-inning RBI triple by Jamar Richardson.

Jaythan Locklear got Pembroke on the scoreboard with a third-inning RBI single before his fourth-inning go-ahead hit.

“I kind of got on them — they were playing flat and there was no reason,” Pembroke coach Ethan Chavis said. “They had a good arm on the mound … but it was all about the swings we were taking. Control the controllables, and that’s what we did, and it got out of hand.”

Sam Brewington got the win for Pembroke after allowing four runs in five innings with six strikeouts. Gabriel Priest was strong in three innings for St. Pauls, allowing one run on one hit with three strikeouts, before Cameron McNeill pitched the fourth.

“Priest did a great job controlling the game and we came out strong with hits, until the last inning and a half,” St. Pauls coach Brandon Carmichael said. “We just struggled with pitching, and our bats kind of fell off at the end there too.”

Once the momentum flipped to Pembroke late in the opener, it was all Post 50 in the nightcap, with the team scoring multiple runs in each of the three innings before the game was ended early via the run rule.

“I think we started coming alive somewhere around the third (of game one), started bouncing back a little bit, and so the momentum switched our way and I think it just stayed that way into the second ballgame,” Carter said. “These five-inning games … you’ve got to come out quick and it don’t take much to get behind.”

“We woke up,” Jaythan Locklear said. “And we got business done.”

A Cam Hunt RBI and a wild pitch resulted in two first-inning runs for Pembroke. St. Pauls tied the game at 2-2 in the second, scoring both runs without a hit in the inning; Pembroke scored five each in the second and third. The five second-inning runs came on one hit; Cam Hunt and Xaviar Brewer each earned an RBI when they were hit with a pitch and Keithyn Hunt drew an RBI walk; additional runs scored on a Terry Jacobs groundout and an double steal.

In the third, Malachi Gales, Keithyn Hunt and Terry Jacobs each had RBI hits, Brewer drove one in with a sacrifice fly and an additional run scored on a wild pitch.

Gales scored three runs and Cam Hunt, Keithyn Hunt, Grayson Brooks and courtesy-runner Waydan McMillan each scored two in the nightcap.

Tim Hammonds allowed two runs on two hits with five strikeouts in three innings for Pembroke; Joshua Garner and Jaylon Oxendine each pitched for St. Pauls.

Pembroke sits at 6-1, with the only loss coming last week in extra innings against Whiteville.

“I think where we’re at is about where we talked about where we wanted to be at this time,” Carter said. “The Whiteville loss, I didn’t really let it bother us, because there was times we should’ve won the baseball game, and I don’t say that very often because baseball turns one way or the other.”

St. Pauls is 0-4; the program has about 20 players but has rarely had its full roster available due to players’ conflicts with travel ball commitments. Just eight St. Pauls players were available for Tuesday’s doubleheader, with one player from Pembroke’s team agreeing to fill the ninth spot in the lineup and play right field.

“We have a scrappy group of kids; they’re good at the plate, they’re good, scrappy ballplayers, and we’re just missing a few of them,” Carmichael said. “We’re missing a lot of our pitchers that haven’t been able to come; they play other ball.”

Carmichael hopes the program will continue to grow and help to better establish baseball in the St. Pauls community.

“This has great potential to be something to put St. Pauls on the map,” Carmichael said. “There’s a lot of travel ball being played, so we’re trying to get these kids back to the importance of understanding how Legion ball works, that’s the key now. We have a lot of potential.”

Chris Stiles can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.