Wilson County-Wayne County
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on June 28, 2004 1:55 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Wayne County's Senior American Legion team proved the age-old baseball adage, "hitting is contagious" Sunday night against Wilson County at Scarborough Field.
After falling behind 3-1 after the top of the third, Post 11 sent a season-high 18 batters to the plate in a 12-run, eight-hit third inning on its way to cruising to a 17-3 win over Post 13 in seven innings.
The win was Wayne County's fourth straight and its second in a row by the 10-run mercy rule as it improved to 13-3 overall. Wilson County, who defeated Post 11 earlier in the season, dropped to 9-9.
Wayne County posted all 12 runs and eight hits before recording an out during the third-inning rally that saw six different players record RBI singles. All but two Wayne County starters got hits against a trio of Post 13 pitchers, who combined to throw 60 pitches in the third inning alone.
"They (Wilson) are better than that. They've got a bunch of conference games coming up, and I'm sure they are saving some pitching," Wayne County coach Brad Reaves said. "We got into a streak where I wondered if we would ever get out. We haven't done that (batted around twice) since I've been here."
Erik Lovett's two-run, line-drive double off of the right field fence and Airlon Vinson's two-run base hit pushed Wayne County's lead to its final margin in the bottom of the fourth against Wilson County reliever Brent Godwin.
Lovett, who finished with five RBI on the game, opened Post 11's 16-hit performance with a solo home run in the bottom of the first -- smashing a 2-1 curve ball from Wilson County starter Jake Skinner deep into the trees beyond the right-field fence.
"I was sitting on curve ball and he threw it. If he would have thrown me a fastball, he might have sawed me off," Lovett said. "I've slumped off the last few games and I'm just glad I am starting to hit the ball better.
"The whole team is starting to come around. We've got a big week coming up, and I'm glad we are starting to peak at the right time."
Lovett, the right fielder, also added a diving grab to record the third out of the fifth inning off of the bat of Wilson County's Justin Batts. The out would prove to be the final recorded by Wayne County starter Brett Butts (2-0), who allowed three runs on five hits in five innings of work to pick up the win in his sixth appearance of the season.
Wayne County's Jes Snyder finished with three hits and three runs and has notched at least two hits in seven of eight games. Vinson had two hits and two RBI from the sixth spot, while lead-off hitter Jesse Lancaster had two hits, an RBI and scored three times. No. 9 hitter Garrett Sutton also had two hits, two runs and drove in one. Sutton started the third with a single, then later added an RBI base hit.
Lovett's home run in the first and double in the fourth proved to be the only two Post 11 hits that went for extra bases.
"When you put people on in front of Erik, they've got to throw to him a little bit," Reaves said. "We've had some better approaches at the plate, and we got several two-strike hits. We weren't doing that earlier in the year."
Wilson got one run in the second when Lee Hawkins, who singled earlier, raced home to score on a wild pitch. In the third, Wilson County got their final two runs when Bobby Hawkins scored Jonathan Proctor and Allan Corbett with a two-run double off of Butts, who finished the third with a strike out.
Ashton Langston and Philip Pennington combined on two innings of no-hit relief in the sixth and seventh.
Wayne County returns to action tonight at home with a key Area One East/South Divison contest with New Bern at 7 p.m.. Post 11 left-hander Adam Williams is expected to get the start. Post 24, who handed Wayne County its only division loss, enters the game with a 5-2 division slate, while Post 11 sits at 3-1.
Wilson Co. 012 000 0 -- 3 5 3
Wayne Co. 10(12) 400 x -- 17 16 2
Leading hitters -- Wilson County -- Jonathan Proctor 1-4, 2B; Bobby Hawkins 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI. Wayne County -- Erik Lovett 3-5, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, 3 runs; Jesse Lancaster 2-4, RBI, 3 runs; Jes Snyder 3-4, 3 runs; Airlon Vinson 2-3, 2 RBI; Garrett Sutton 2-4, RBI, 2 runs.
IP H R ER BB SO
Skinner (L) 2 3 4 4 3 1
Joyner 0 2 6 5 2 0
Godwin 11Ú3 8 7 7 1 1
Hawkins 12Ú3 2 0 0 1 3
Powell 1 1 0 0 0 0
Butts (W, 2-0) 5 0 3 3 1 3
Langston 1 0 0 0 1 1
Pennington 1 0 0 0 1 0
Skinner faced two batters in the third; Joyner faced six batters in the third.
WP -- Joyner (3); Godwin; Powell; Butts (2); Pennington. HBP -- Batts, Bardin (by Butts); Vinson (by Joyner).
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