Post 11 rallies past Chapel Hill
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on June 22, 2004 1:55 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Wayne County's American Legion team needed a spark.
A handful of key reserves and relief pitchers stepped up and provided that lift Monday night at Scarborough Field against Chapel Hill.
One of the substitutes, rising Charles B. Aycock sophomore Garrett Davis, legged out an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to score Phillip Cunningham for the game-winning run as Post 11 claimed an 8-7, comeback win over non-division foe Post 6.
The win was Wayne County's 10th straight at home to open the season as it looks to continue the streak tonight against Area One East/South opponent Pitt County Post 39 (9-1), currently in first place in the division with a 3-1 mark.
"Probably one of the better teams we will play all year will be rolling in here tomorrow night," Wayne County coach Brad Reaves said.
Wayne County (10-3) will take a 1-1 division record into the contest.
One of four Post 11 players who participated in the State Games of North Carolina last week, starting third baseman Jesse Lancaster also provided a clutch hit in the ninth on Monday. His two-out single to right before Davis' sprint knocked in Airlon Vinson to tie the game.
"It was big. I was just waiting for something to fall for me," Lancaster said. "I struggled the first couple of days at the State Games, but yesterday I hit it pretty good, just right at 'em. I was just waiting for one to fall and fortunately it did."
Davis, Cunningham and Austin Hood came off of the bench and went a combined 4-for-6 at the plate in innings six through nine. Davis drove in two runs and Cunningham scored twice to help Wayne County erase a 7-3 deficit after five innings.
Chapel Hill committed two errors, walked a batter and hit a batter during a three-run, Wayne County sixth that saw David Combs and Davis provide key RBI. Post 6 starter Dusty Saulsbury eventually worked out of a bases loaded jam as Chapel Hill held a 7-6 lead.
After stranding five runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth, Post 11 eventually broke through against reliever Austin Phoenix with a two-out, two-run rally in the ninth.
"We couldn't have been less ready to play tonight. We had to make a change somewhere, because the other guys weren't in it," Reaves said. "I did want to see some things tonight going into this 10-game stretch, and I found some people who wanted to play tonight."
Davis (2-0), who picked up the win in one inning of relief work, was one of three Post 11 relievers who combined to shut out Post 6 (7-8) in the final four innings. Davis, along with Grant Sasser and Ashton Langston, combined to give up only two hits, while striking out seven against one walk.
The left-handed Sasser was particularly sharp in the sixth and seventh, striking out four -- including fanning the side in the sixth. Sasser threw 17 strikes and only two balls in his relief stint.
"He (Sasser) hit his spots better than he has hit them all year," Reaves said. "He had command of both sides of the plate and his breaking ball was working."
Brett Butts, a rising sophomore at Charlotte, started and pitched the first five innings for Wayne County, yielding seven runs on five hits with eight strike outs and two walks. Chapel Hill's Benji Johnson did the most damage against the right-hander, blasting a two-run home run that was ruled just inside the left-field pole with two outs in the first.
Johnson went on to drive in two more runs in a three-hit, four-RBI performance.
Along with Johnson's hitting, a handful of Wayne County miscues aided Chapel Hill as it jumped out to a 7-3 lead. An errant pick-off throw to first, an infield error and a pair of wild pitches helped four of the runs cross the plate.
Jes Snyder and Todd MacCoy had two hits and a double each for Wayne County, while Erik Lovett and Vinson helped Post 11 erase a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the first with a pair of RBI.
Combs provided aggressive base-running in the second, racing home on an errant throw to third by the Post 6 catcher after stealing second and taking third on a wild pitch -- giving Wayne County a 3-2 lead in the second. Post 11 did not get another hit until the three-run rally in the sixth.
Chapel Hill 202 030 000 -- 7 7 3
Wayne Co. 210 003 002 -- 8 12 3
Leading hitters -- Chapel Hill -- Benji Johnson 3-4, HR, 4 RBI. Wayne County -- Jes Snyder 2-5, 2B; Todd MacCoy 2-5, 2B; Phillip Cunningham 2-3, 2 runs; Garrett Davis 2-3, 2 RBI.
IP H R ER BB SO
Saulsbury 6 6 5 4 4 3
Phoenix (L) 3 7 2 2 0 1
Butts 5 5 7 6 2 8
Sasser 2 0 0 0 0 4
Langston 1 1 0 0 1 2
Davis (W, 2-0) 1 1 0 0 0 1
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