03/10/04 — SW drops ECC opener

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SW drops ECC opener

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 10, 2004 1:57 PM

DUDLEY -- No matter the sport, no team is ever immune to seeing peaks and valleys through the course of a season.

The Southern Wayne baseball team has experienced both in a matter of days.

Coming off Friday's impressive home win against Class 4-A D.H. Conley, the Saints committed six errors, leading to six unearned runs in a 14-11 loss at Kinston in both team's Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference opener Tuesday evening.

"We beat ourselves. We were flat, we didn't make plays on defense and we just weren't ready to play," Southern Wayne coach Trae McKee said. "I told them yesterday that we can't live off of Friday.

"A great win can build some confidence, but you can't feel like you can just show up and beat anybody."

The Saints (2-1, 0-1 ECC) trailed 10-3 going into the top of the sixth before staging a pair of serious rallies -- also getting their fair share of help from the Kinston defense. The Vikings had eight errors that also led to six unearned runs on the game.

Southern Wayne's Chris Pearsall highlighted a five-run sixth with a two-out single off Richard Nobles to right center, scoring Matt Holloman and Austin Hood. Pearsall came around to score when Josh Narron's pop fly into shallow right field was dropped by the second baseman.

Aided by a walk, a hit batter, a balk, a catcher's interference call and two errors, Kinston (1-2, 0-1 ECC) re-extended its lead to 14-8 in the bottom of the sixth. Southern Wayne's Brad Holloman (0-1) was credited with the loss in one inning of relief.

Matt Graham pushed the Saints right back into the game with a three-run, line drive home run over the left-field fence. Nobles (1-1), who went the distance, went on to retire three of the next four hitters to pick up the win.

"If we make a few plays here and there, especially late in the game ... if you put up 11 runs you are supposed to win a ball game," McKee said. "But, when you give a team six, seven, eight outs per inning, it's just not going to happen."

First-year Kinston coach Eddie Loesner said there was no hesitation in leaving Nobles in the game through the Saints' late rallies.

"He's (Nobles) is a senior, and the one thing you know about Richard is that he's going to throw strikes," Loesner said.

Southern Wayne got off to a solid start, both offensively and defensively, as Nathan Fail led off the game with a double in the right-center field gap and eventually came around to score the game's first run following two Viking infield errors. David Combs drove in Austin Hood with a sacrifice fly to give the Saints an early 2-0 lead.

The Saints followed the two-run top half of the first with a 4-6-3 double play before Kinston scratched for a run.

Nobles went on to throw three shutout innings in the second, third and fourth as the Vikings backed him up with seven runs, only two of which were earned off of Saint starter Pearsall and reliever T.J. Hinson.

McKee is hoping the team can learn and bounce back from the conference opening loss.

"When we make our minds up and show up to play every single game, we can play this game," McKee said.

S Wayne 200 015 3 -- 11 10 6

Kinston 141 224 x -- 14 10 8

Leading hitters -- Southern Wayne -- Matt Holloman 2-5, 2 runs; Chris Pearsall 1-4, 2 RBI; Josh Narron 2-3, 2B, RBI; Matt Graham 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs. Kinston -- Ben Lanier 1-2, 4 runs; Richard Nobles 2-5, 2 RBI; Reggie Dizon 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Matt Brown 1-4, 2 RBI.


Southern Wayne

Chris Pearsall 32Ú3 8 8 6 4 2

T.J. Hinson 11Ú3 1 2 0 1 3

M. Holloman (L, 0-1)

1 1 4 2 1 0


Richard Nobles (W, 1-1)

7 10 11 6 0 5