06/10/04 — American Legion baseball -- Post 11 loses second straight

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American Legion baseball -- Post 11 loses second straight

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 10, 2004 1:57 PM

WILSON -- Hitting and the maturing of the younger pitchers concerned Wayne County Post 11 skipper Brad Reaves heading into this season. Strangely enough, those two worries have caused few headaches for the second-year coach.

The defense, however, has provided anxious moments.

Reaves' team has committed 29 errors in eight outings, an average of nearly four miscues per nine innings. But Reaves isn't about to push the panic button yet despite having an itchy trigger finger.

Wayne County booted the ball in the early innings against Area I East non-division foe Wilson Post 13 in an 8-3 loss at venerable Fleming Stadium on Wednesday evening. The defensive mishaps led to three unearned runs and a five-run deficit midway through the contest.

"I thought we had a pretty good defense going into the year," Reaves said. "We're not making very good pitches, either. They're some balls hit hard, but we didn't play good defense tonight.

"I still think it's a lack of concentration."

Post 11 suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season and manufactured a season-low offensive output -- three runs on 10 hits. Reaves' team will take today off before hosting an eight-team invitational, which begins Friday morning at Mount Olive College.

Wilson improved to 6-3 and begins a five-game road swing Friday at North Division member Edenton.

"We've got some boys who can play defense, we really do," Reaves said. "I'm not taking anything away from Wilson, but dad-gum we kicked it around. But when you fall behind hitters, it lulls you to sleep a little bit.

"You start hanging back and you're not sharp on defense. It's hard to play like that, but I know we can play better defense than that."

Wayne County, which leads the all-time series 56-39, grabbed a two-run lead in the top half of the first. Two Post 13 errors and Airlon Vinson's single led to RBI groundouts by Erik Lovett and Jes Snyder.

Post 13 threatened in its half of the first, but right-hander Grant Sasser avoided any significant damage. But the rising sophomore at Charles B. Aycock couldn't avert trouble in the second inning and fell victim to a shaky defense.

Wilson capitalized on three errors, including two on fielder's choice plays, to grab a lead it would never relinquish. Sasser surrendered an earned run in the third inning and didn't return to the mound for the fourth. Post 13 led 4-2 at that point.

Sasser (1-1) threw 69 pitches during his three-inning stint.

"It probably wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't kicked it so much behind him," Reaves said. "You have to remember that kid is just a freshman and he's learning. He had a little life on his fastball and his curveball wasn't bad.

"I think right now he might be a little intimidated and he's trying to stay away from hitters a little bit. I think that's why he might be missing (his spots). When he figures it out because he's a smart youngun, he's going to hit his spots and he's going to get ahead of people."

Mike Oglesby replaced Sasser on the mound and yielded three runs (all earned) in the fourth. The right-hander settled down and retired eight consecutive batters before surrendering a two-out single to Jonathan Davis in the seventh.

Meanwhile, Post 13 scratched for a run in the third. Wilson ended the threat with a double play, the first of three twin-killings over a four-inning stretch. Shortstop Bobby Hawkins collected four assists and one putout, while first baseman Jonathan Pittman notched three putouts.

A sophomore at Methodist College, Hawkins finished the night with eight assists and two putouts in 11 defensive chances. He also singled, doubled and tripled in four plate appearances.

"That shortstop was everywhere in the field and at the plate," Reaves said. "Where did he come from?"

Trailing 8-3, Wayne County loaded the bases on two singles and a Post 13 mental mistake in the ninth inning. With two outs, Vinson (3-for-5) fouled off two pitches before looking at a borderline inside pitch for a called third strike to end the game.

Wilson right-hander Tim Bardin earned the complete-game victory, the first by any Post 13 pitcher this season. Bardin struck out three, walked one and gave up three runs.

Wayne County 200 010 000 -- 3 10 5

Wilson 031 300 01x -- 8 12 3

Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Garrett Sutton 2-5, 2B; Airlon Vinson 3-5; Erik Lovett 2-3; Garrett Davis 1-4; Matthew Holloman 1-4; Jesse Lancaster 1-4. Wilson -- David Bunn 2-4, 2B; Bobby Hawkins 3-4, 2B, 3B; Jonathan Davis 3-4, 3B, RBI; Tim Bardin 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI.

DP -- Wilson 3, Wayne County 1. LOB -- Wayne County 8, Wilson 10. SB -- J. Davis, Goff, Corbett. CS -- Snyder, J. Davis.


Wayne County Post 11

Sasser (L, 1-1) 3 5 4 1 3 1

Oglesby 5 7 4 4 0 5

Wilson Post 13

Bardin (W) 9 10 3 1 1 3

WP -- Sasser, Oglesby.