04/13/04 — Wade's homer lifts Rams past EW

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Wade's homer lifts Rams past EW

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 13, 2004 1:55 PM

GREENVILLE -- One pitch erased one hard inning of work for Eastern Wayne and removed some doubts about the confidence of Greene Central's baseball players Monday afternoon.

Joe Wade belted a no-out, solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Rams survived the Warriors 6-5 in losers' bracket play in the ninth annual Jimmie R. Grimsley Hot Stove League tournament. The round-tripper snapped Greene Central's four-game skid and put it in today's fifth-place game against D.H. Conley.

Eastern Wayne (7-8) suffered its third consecutive loss and battled Boone Watauga in the seventh-place game today at noon. Both the Rams and Warriors' games were moved to J.H. Rose after Monday evening's late rainstorm washed out play and forced schedule changes on the Guy Smith Stadium diamond.

"We love to make it interesting," Rams coach Russell Brann said.

No kidding.

Senior Jamie Ham ignited a four-run fifth inning with a lead-off home run, his first of the season. Travis Rouse followed with a one-out single and scored when the Warrior defense misplayed a routine sacrifice bunt near third base.

Matthew Whitley's fielder's choice groundout and Matthew Tyndall's single each led to an RBI, and gave the Rams a 5-2 advantage.

"I told the boys you're ahead 5-2 and you've got to play relaxed," Brann said. "But it seems like we got tight."

That tenseness, the possibility of losing another close game, surfaced in the Warriors' seventh.

Eastern Wayne loaded the bases on a walk and back-to-back singles by Chris Davis and pinch-hitter Lane Ward. Brann removed starting pitcher Travis Rouse and replaced him with Jordy Davis, who issued an RBI walk to Garrett Sutton.

"Travis wasn't finishing up like he did the inning before," said Wade, the Rams' catcher. "Jordy came in and did a good job getting us out of it without putting them ahead."

Jesse Lancaster (2-for-4) laced a two-RBI double down the third-base line, which tied the game at 5-5. Davis intentionally walked Airlon Vinson and retired Matt Hemenway on a fly ball to shallow center field.

Davis (2-2) forced Trey Johnson to hit into an inning-ending double play, the Rams' second of the afternoon.

"We just lost concentration and everybody thought they were just going to lay down and die, but they didn't and came back," Wade said. "Everybody puts so much pressure on themselves. If one person makes the error, then they think the whole world is coming down.

"They've got to relax and have fun. That's what it's all about."

Wade, admittedly, felt a little anxiety in the seventh.

The senior fouled off two Garrett Sutton pitches and fell behind 1-2 in the count. Sutton's next pitch, a fastball, flirted low near the outside corner. Wade took a golf-like swing and trotted toward first as the ball got caught in the wind and sailed over the right center field fence.

"I was just trying to get on base at that point," a grinning Wade said. "I had two strikes and was swinging to protect myself. I just hit it good, I guess."

Wade's teammates rushed the plate to greet him, while Eastern Wayne's players dejectedly walked off the field. The Warriors dropped to 1-4 in their last five Grimsley tournament games.

Eastern Wayne out-hit an opponent for the second straight outing, but errors haunted it on defense. The fifth-inning miscue on the bunt led to three unearned errors. Two late-inning errors Saturday cost the Warriors in a 2-1 loss against state-ranked Charlotte Providence.

Greene Central (5-9-1) committed two errors, but neither led to a run.

"We hit it right at them and they made the plays," Warriors coach Jabo Fulghum said. "They hit the baseball when they needed to ... hit the ball hard today.

"The kids played hard. We're not down and out. We've just got to find a way to win."

Ninth annual

Jimmie R. Grimsley

Hot Stove League Tournament

(at Guy Smith Stadium, Greenville)

Eastern Wayne 101 000 3 -- 5 10 3

Greene Central 100 040 1 -- 6 7 2

No outs when winning run scored.

Leading hitters -- Greene Central -- Joe Wade 1-2, HR, 2 RBI; Travis Rouse 2-4; Hunter Chase 2-4, 2B; Matthew Whitley 1-3, RBI; Matthew Tyndall 1-3, RBI; Jamie Ham 1-3, HR, RBI. Eastern Wayne -- Garrett Sutton 1-3, RBI; Jesse Lancaster 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Airlon Vinson 1-3, 2B; Trey Johnson 1-4, RBI; Lane Ward 1-1.

DP -- Greene Central 2. LOB -- Greene Central 7, Eastern Wayne 6. SB -- Hemenway, Davis. SF -- Wade.


Eastern Wayne (7-8)

Lancaster 5 5 5 2 2 7

Sutton (L) 1 2 1 1 1 1

Greene Central (5-9-1)

Rouse 6 9 3 3 1 1

Sutton (W, 2-2) 1 2 1 1 1 1

Sutton pitched to Wade in seventh.