03/24/04 — SW stumbles at home

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SW stumbles at home

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 24, 2004 2:08 PM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne coach Trae McGee believes he's getting the effort and performance out of his team in practice to make them a formidable team in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference.

Between the lines Tuesday against West Carteret, the Saints turned in another disappointing performance in the heart of conference play.

Southern Wayne (2-5 overall) dropped to 0-5 in conference after committing nine errors in the first four innings, leading to seven unearned runs in an 11-1 loss to West Carteret.

The Patriots (7-1) improved to 3-1 in the ECC.

On top of the defensive blunders, the Saints consistently looked at called strikes at the plate against Patriot starter Clayton Pittman. Pittman mixed his fastball, curve and change-up to strike out seven against two walks, yielding just two hits and one run (unearned) in five innings of work.

"We've just got to come back and play. We're practicing great and working hard. We are making great improvements at the plate at practice," McKee said. "We've just got to put it together between the lines. Instincts have got to take over."

Southern Wayne's Nathan Fail, who finished with three of his team's four hits, provided both singles off of Pittman -- an infield single with two outs in the third and a two-out bunt single in the fifth. Matt Holloman delivered the Saints' only extra base hit of the afternoon, smacking an opposite-field double off of relief pitcher Bruce Johnson into the right-field corner.

Trailing 10-0, Matt Graham started the Saints' fourth by reaching on error by the shortstop, then moving to second on a stolen base. Graham plated the lone Southern Wayne run after Chris Pearsall's hard ground ball kicked off of the first baseman and into rightfield.

Pittman recovered, striking out three more Saints in his final 12Ú3 innings before leaving the game.

Lonnie Chisenhall, who finished with a team-high four hits, and Pittman opened the game with consecutive singles. Chisenhall came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Johnson, while Pittman came home on an errant throw from the outfield.

West Carteret's Doug Marino capped the four-run first with a two-RBI single off of Saint starter Ashton Langston, who yielded 10 runs, but only three were earned.

Aided by seven Saint errors, the Patriots tacked on six more runs in the second, third and fourth on six on six hits. Johnson launched a solo home run to left to highlight his three RBI performance.

"We're just so timid right now. We aren't being aggressive at the plate, or on ground balls or fly balls," McKee said. "We are sitting back and looking for someone to make a great play, instead of going out and making the play

"It was a very passive approach at the game tonight."

Adam Martin and Devin Graves came on to pitch the final three innings, combining to give up only one run as the defense played errorless the rest of the way.

Despite the defensive miscues, Southern Wayne's Fail and Graham had strong defensive plays from their centerfield and rightfield spots, respectively.

Graham tossed a picturesque throw from right to third baseman Mike Steward, cutting down Marino for the third out after a single by Chisenhall in the third. Fail chased down a double by Chisenhall in the fifth and threw a strike to Matt Holloman, who gunned down Jon Nause at the plate trying to score.

The Saints return to action on Friday at Washington. The Patriots host Charles B. Aycock in Morehead City on Friday.

W. Carteret 412 300 1 -- 11 14 2

S. Wayne 000 100 0 -- 1 4 9

Leading hitters -- West Carteret -- Lonnie Chisenhall 4-5, 3B, 2B, 2 runs; Bruce Johnson 3-5, 3 RBI; Nick Martin 2-4, HR, RBI, 3 runs. S. Wayne -- Nathan Fail 3-4; Matt Holloman 1-3, 2B.


W. Carteret (7-1, 3-1)

Clayton Pittman (W) 5 2 1 0 2 7

Bruce Johnson 2 2 0 0 0 0

S. Wayne (2-5, 0-5)

Ashton Langston (L) 4 10 10 3 13

Adam Martin 2 2 0 0 2 1

Devin Graves 1 2 1 1 1 1