Post 11 opens season with win
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on May 27, 2004 1:55 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- As one of a handful of first-year Wayne County American Legion players, Matthew Holloman delivered a key, two-RBI single in the fourth inning against Garner on Wednesday at Mount Olive's Scarborough Field.
Holloman's two-out hit seemed to spark Post 11 in its 7-1 win over Post 232 as the youth and veteran Legion players meshed well in a balanced, season-opening win.
"I think the younger guys bring a little fire to it, and that's what we need," Wayne County coach Brad Reaves said. "They got it going, then the older guys picked it up and kept it going."
In two innings of relief, returnee and Charlotte pitcher Brett Butts picked up the win -- tossing a scoreless third and fourth. After Garner (0-3) got a run in the first off of starter Adam Williams, four Wayne County pitchers allowed only two total base runners to reach third base in innings two-through-nine.
Butts, Grant Sasser and Philip Pennington tossed two innings of relief, while Erik Lovett closed the game in the ninth.
The pitcher-by-committee set-up worked just as second-year coach Brad Reaves planned.
"I thought they threw strikes," Reaves said. "I told them, 'we've got a good defense and a big yard here at Scarborough ... use it,'
"We have a lot of tired arms from high school, and we are going to pitch by committee for a while. We want everyone fresh by playoff time."
While the pitching staff and defense kept Garner at bay, Wayne County's balanced bats consistently put pressure on the Post 232 defense and benefited from seven costly Garner errors -- leading to six unearned runs.
Holloman's two-run single came after a two-out walk to Jes Snyder, who moved to third on an infield throwing error that allowed Jesse Lancaster to reach second. A hit-and-run base hit by Josh Pate scored Holloman from second as Post 11 (1-0) took a 3-1 lead.
It looked as if Garner starter Lief Baker was going to intentionally walk Holloman with runners on second and third in the bottom of the sixth, but after three intentional balls, Baker misfired and grooved the fourth pitch down the middle. Holloman took advantage and drove a run-scoring, sacrifice fly to left -- scoring Todd MacCoy.
Three more Garner errors, mixed with three-straight singles by Airlon Vinson, Lovett and MacCoy, led to three more unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh to push the game to its final margin. Vinson and Lancaster had RBI in the inning.
In the top of the ninth, Garner put runners on first and third with two outs after a double by Matt Medlin and an infield single by Marc Locklear. Lovett escaped damage by inducing a flawless six-four-three double-play from Snyder (short stop) to Lancaster (second base) to Ashton Langston (first base).
Post 232's defense eventually faltered, but early on, Garner turned in a couple of defensive gems that helped Baker keep Wayne County off of the board. Post 232 second baseman Trey Bailey turned in a diving snag on a hot grounder off of the bat by Lovett and flipped to second to start a double play to end the first. Garner short stop, J.P. Primus, turned a 6-3 double play one inning later as Post 11 went scoreless and hitless in the first three innings off of Baker.
"We haven't been together but one day with this group and we have a lot of new faces," Reaves said. "Even in those early innings, we hit some balls right on the button. If they get through, we probably break it open a little earlier."
Garner 100 000 000 -- 1 7 7
Wayne Co. 000 301 30x -- 7 7 2
Leading hitters -- Garner -- Adam Hamrick 2-4; Matt Medlin 1-1, 2B. Wayne County -- Todd MacCoy 2-4; Matthew Holloman 1-4, 3 RBI; Josh Pate 1-3, RBI; Airlon Vinson 1-3, RBI.
IP H R ER BB S0
Lief Baker (L) 52Ú3 4 4 1 4 1
J.P. Primus 2Ú3 3 3 0 0 1
Adam Hamrick 12Ú3 0 0 0 1 2
Adam Williams 2 2 1 1 1 0
Brett Butts (W) 2 1 0 0 1 0
Grant Sasser 2 1 0 0 2 1
Philip Pennington 2 1 0 0 0 1
Erik Lovett 1 1 0 0 0 0
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