Saints shut down Golden Falcons
By David Williams
Published in Sports on April 25, 2004 2:00 AM
DUDLEY -- They did it for Josh.
On a night that saw Southern Wayne honor the late Josh Brinkley, the Saints played one of the finest games of the year in stopping Charles B. Aycock 1-0 at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.
Prior to the start of the game, Brinkley was honored. A baseball award that exemplifies Brinkley's hard-nosed characteristics on the field will be given to a Southern Wayne player bearing Brinkley's name. In addition, a scholarship fund is being established in his honor at East Duplin High School, where his family is now living.
Whitfield described Brinkley as "the greatest ballplayer ever at Southern Wayne."
"He was a hard-nosed ball player," said Saint coach Trae McKee. "He worked extremely hard, playing the game the way it was meant to be played."
Brinkley would be proud.
In an errorless game that took only one hour and 45 minutes, Southern Wayne starter Ashton Langston was stingy all night. In picking up his fourth win of the season, he allowed just three hits, struck out five, and did not walk a batter. Only two Falcon hits made it to the outfield all night.
But Aycock had their chances to score.
Philip Cunningham was hit by a pitch in the opening inning and got to third base with one out, but was left stranded.
"When you're the visiting team, you need to score early," said Aycock coach Charles Davis.
Aycock put runners on board in every inning but two. The Falcons' first hit, a single by Nik Pappas to lead off the second, went by the boards when Josh Kirby sent a screaming grounder back to Langston, who converted it into a 1-6-3 double play.
Cunningham and Jarrod Gouty were on base with one out in the third, only to have Langston strike out the next two hitters.
Aycock's final opportunity came in the sixth when Mathew Waddell led off with a single. After reaching second on a fielder's choice, he stole third.
Josh Pate sent a hard grounder down the third base line that was grabbed by Mathew Holloman. Holloman's throw reached catcher David Combs in plenty of time for an easy tag.
Combs, the only player with two hits, began Southern Wayne's fourth inning with a single. With two outs, Brady Wiggins followed with another single. Combs stole third and came home on Michael Steward's single down the left field line.
"This was a tough loss for us," said Davis. "They scored off a couple of infield hits. We smacked the ball on the nose, but always right to somebody. That's baseball. Langston pitched a great game, and they played the glove behind him."
It was an emotional win for McKee.
"Ashton Langston pitched his heart out," he said. "What else could you ask for when you get a three-hit shutout? Our infield of Holloman, Hood, and Narron made some game-saving plays.
"Combs is one of the hardest workers on the club. Tonight, it paid off for him."
Aycock (5-5, 11-6) will entertain Kinston Tuesday night. Southern Wayne (5-6, 8-9) will travel to New Hanover for a non-conference game Wednesday.
Both coaches were unwilling to concede anything in Eastern Carolina 3-A conference play.
"It's just like ACC basketball," said Davis. "On any given night, any team can win."
"This is probably, top-to-bottom, one of the best leagues in the state," said McKee. "A lot remains to be seen."
C.B. Aycock 000 000 0 -- 0 3 0
Southern Wayne 000 100 x -- 1 6 0
Leading hitters -- C.B. Aycock -- Mathew Waddell 1 hit; Nik Pappas 1 hit; Jarrod Gouty 1 hit. Southern Wayne -- David Combs 2 hits; Michael Steward 1 hit, RBI.
IP H R ER BB SO
Cunningham (L, 6-3) 6 6 1 1 0 6
Langston (W, 3-3) 7 3 0 0 0 5
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