03/07/04 — Saints knock off DHC

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Saints knock off DHC

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 7, 2004 2:00 AM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne baseball coach Trae McKee could barely contain his glee following Friday night's 10-7 win over visiting D.H. Conley.

It was a big win over a tough opponent, and the victory gives the Saints a boost of confidence before starting league play Tuesday at Kinston.

But for McKee, it was also a personal triumph over his long-time friend, Conley coach Jason Mills.

The two grew up in Maryland. They competed against each other while Mills was at East Carolina and McKee was at Mount Olive College. They attend coaching clinics together.

Most of all, they relish the chance to beat each other on the diamond in their annual home and home match-ups.

"It's head-to-head every time we play," said McKee.

True. Each time a team got a scoring advantage, the other came roaring back with a vengeance.

Conley drew first blood, scoring a run in the top of the first, and Southern Wayne countered with three runs. Nathan Fail opened the inning with a double over the center fielder's head. Fail, Austin Hood, and Wayne Clemens scored courtesy of two Viking errors and a wild pitch thrown by starter Steven Clery.

The visitors tied it with two runs in the second, and spurted ahead 5-3 with two more in the third. Designated hitter Matt Graham tied it in the bottom of the fourth for Southern Wayne with a towering home run over the center field fence, bringing in Michael Stewart, who had walked.

The Vikings came back with two more runs in the fifth. The Saints countered by batting around in the fifth, scoring five runs. Six consecutive batters in the run reached base safely.

Carr's pinch-hit single between first and second drove in Narron and Combs, while Graham's two-bagger brought in Holloman. Carr scored, complements of Fail's single, a swinging bunt in between second and first.

McKee brought in Mathew Holloman to relieve starter Alston Langston for the final two innings. Backed by great fielding by Hood at short -- who assisted on half the outs -- Holloman set the six men he faced down in order to pick up the save.

"Southern Wayne outplayed us from the first pitch to the last," said Mills. "They pushed us. Next time, we'll be better."

McKee had nothing but accolades for his club.

"Carr swings the bat really well. He's already had some key hits. Holloman slammed the door shut in relief. Hood made some great plays at short. Langston had excellent accuracy."

"Conley is one of the best teams we'll play all year. What a confidence builder."