Baseball -- So. Wayne downs C.B. Aycock, earns playoff spot
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 16, 2004 2:00 AM
The Saints are in!
Matthew Holloman scattered five hits in a complete-game effort and added his first-ever career home run as Southern Wayne upended county rival Charles B. Aycock 5-1 on the Eastern Wayne diamond Saturday afternoon.
The Saints needed just 88 minutes to seize the fourth and final playoff berth designated to the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference. The Golden Falcons, the eastern finalists each of the past two years, will miss the postseason for the first time since 1998.
"Honestly, probably besides us, they're the hottest team around right now," Aycock coach Charles Davis said. "Trae (McKee) has done a fantastic job with that squad right there. They are playing hard for him, they made the defensive plays behind Holloman and he spotted the ball well."
Holloman certainly cooled down Aycock's offense.
The right-hander yielded a run and three hits in the first two innings, but quickly found his groove. Holloman retired 11 consecutive batters, a streak that started in the second inning. He threw a perfect third, fourth and fifth inning.
The Golden Falcons hit into eight ground-ball outs, struck out twice and popped up once in the infield during that stretch.
"I threw a bunch of offspeed (pitches), mainly change-ups and mixed my fastball in every once in awhile," Holloman said. "Coach McKee talked to me about it and told me they couldn't hit off-speed that well.
"He wanted me to keep them off balance and sneak a fastball by them."
Aycock (16-9) threatened to score in the sixth, but Holloman received a huge double play from the infield. Third baseman Josh Narron gunned down Josh Pate with a snap throw to first and first baseman Ashton Langston threw back across the diamond to shortstop Austin Hood. Hood tagged a sliding Philip Cunningham to complete the twin killing.
The Golden Falcons attempted a seventh-inning rally. Once again, spearheaded by a confident defense, Holloman kept his ground.
Hood gobbled up the game's final ground ball, flipped it over to second baseman Brady Wiggins and the celebration began. The Saints, who were 0-5 at one point in the ECC, had clinched their second straight playoff bid and third overall in the past four seasons.
"This was a dream," Holloman said.
The play-in contest nearly began in nightmarish fashion for the Saints. An outfield error led to an unearned run and put the Golden Falcons in the driver's seat in the top half of the first.
Aycock's defense returned the favor with an infield error. Holloman doubled home Nathan Fail, who led off with a single, for a 1-1 tie. The defensive miscue allowed Holloman and Hood to score for a 3-1 advantage.
"When they went up one, that was huge," McKee said. "We turned around and put a three-spot up against a good pitcher. Philip has great stuff and we were fortunate to get the bat into it enough.
"That gave us confidence."
Holloman belted his lead-off home run to start the fifth. Two outs later, catcher David Combs drove a home run -- his first of the season -- over the right center field fence.
The Saints led 5-1.
"Different guys have stepped up on different nights," McKee said. "We've had some good plate appearances all the way through the lineup. One guy usually has stepped up, taken it by the horns and said 'This is my game. We're not going to settle walking off this field and losing'."
Holloman did just that on a sun-splashed and hot afternoon before nearly 300 fans in New Hope.
C.B. Aycock 100 000 0 -- 1 5 2
So. Wayne 300 020 x -- 5 8 2
Leading hitters -- Southern Wayne -- Nathan Fail 2-4; Matthew Holloman 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI; Austin Hood 1-2; David Combs 1-3, HR, RBI; Chris Pearsall 1-3; Ashton Langston 1-3. C.B. Aycock -- Matthew Waddell 1-3; Josh Pate 1-3, 2B; Bennett Jeffreys 1-3; Josh Kirby 1-3; Will Spence 1-3.
DP -- Southern Wayne 1. LOB -- Southern Wayne 6, C.B. Aycock 4. SH -- Wiggins, Steward. CS -- Waddell.
IP H R ER BB SO
Cunningham (L) 5 7 5 3 1 5
Raper 1 1 0 0 0 2
Holloman (W) 7 5 1 0 0 6
HBP -- Wiggins (by Cunningham). WP -- Holloman.
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