04/14/04 — Warriors win -- with weather's help

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Warriors win -- with weather's help

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 14, 2004 1:55 PM

GREENVILLE -- Playing conditions worsened as a steady rain pelted the already-soaked May-Scales Field diamond on the J.H. Rose campus Tuesday afternoon. But it took a lightning strike and thunder to aid Eastern Wayne in snapping a three-game losing streak.

Watauga had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh. After Warrior pitcher Airlon Vinson walked Jon Geis, officials walked off the field as lightning flashed in the distance. A hard rainfall followed and less than 15 minutes later the game was official.

Eastern Wayne (8-8) finished seventh in the 9th annual Jimmie R. Grimsley Hot Stove League Tournament.

"We'll take 'em any way we can get 'em," veteran Warriors coach Jabo Fulghum said.

Rain washed out winners' bracket action and led to a withdrawal by state-ranked Charlotte Providence, which was scheduled to play J.H. Rose. West Carteret and South Central resumed play this morning with West Carteret ahead 7-0 in the first inning. The winner faces Rose in the final at 3:30 p.m. with the loser claiming third.

Greene Central (5-9-1) and D.H. Conley battled at 11 a.m. in the fifth-place game at May-Scales Field.

"We played better this morning, even with the elements," Fulghum said. "We hit the ball pretty good and that should give us some confidence.

"After the first inning, we made some good plays defensively."

Seven of the Warriors' nine starters had at least one hit in the rain-shortened affair. Three batters combined for four doubles, including Trey Johnson, who had two extra-base knocks in three at-bats.

Eastern Wayne went hitless (0-for-4) with runners in scoring position in the first three innings. However, Fulghum's team executed at the plate in the fourth and fifth innings, and posted the runs it needed for a win.

The Pioneers, of the Class 4-A Northwestern Conference, claimed a 2-0 lead through 31Ú2 innings. A first-inning infield error and missed relay throw on a pick-off attempt led to one run. Kevin Greene doubled home Dalton Hardee in the fourth.

The Warriors answered in their half of the fourth.

Johnson led off with a double to right center field. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Billy McKinley legged out an infield bunt. Chris Davis walked and Lane Ward hit into a fielder's choice to load the bases with one out.

Garrett Sutton followed with a groundout to the pitcher, which plated McKinley for the 2-2 tie. Jesse Lancaster slapped a fly ball to the left center field gap, but the Pioneers' Seth Breitenstein made a great diving catch for the inning-ending out.

"We put it in play," Fulghum said. "I thought we would score more than we did. You have to give the pitcher (Tyler Greene) credit because he stuck with it."

Energized by the offensive surge, the Warriors turned a key double play in the fifth. Geis hit a bouncing grounder to Ward, who tagged the base and threw to Johnson at short. Johnson tagged a sliding Jonathan Greene for the second out.

"Normally you don't turn that double play," a grinning Fulghum said. "That was big. Lane played well at first and