American Legion baseball -- Post 11 survives Kinston
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 1, 2004 1:56 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Four timely hits keyed a seventh-inning rally as Wayne County Post 11 survived upset-minded Kinston Post 43 in a key Area I East/South Division contest Wednesday evening.
Post 11 survived its worst defensive performance of the season and claimed a 12-9 decision on the Scarborough Field diamond. The victory kept Wayne County atop the division at 4-1 heading into tonight's home battle against archrival Snow Hill Post 94. Game time is 7 p.m.
Kinston, which is fighting for one of the division's four postseason berths, exited 2-3 in the South.
Wayne County coach Brad Reaves felt pretty good for five innings.
Post 11 erased a one-run deficit with a nine-run uprising in the second inning. Every starter reached base at least once as Wayne County sent 14 batters to the plate. Seven players delivered at least one hit, which included RBI singles from Jes Snyder, Todd MacCoy, David Combs and Josh Pate.
Right-hander Philip Pennington, a rising sophomore at Mount Olive College, worked well with the eight-run cushion. In his seventh appearance on the mound, Pennington scattered five hits in a five-inning stint. He recorded five strikeouts and yielded an unearned run in the second inning on an infield error -- the first of seven miscues committed by Post 11.
Pennington threw 67 pitches -- 51 strikes, 16 balls -- before giving way to reliever Mike Oglesby.
"Philip threw the ball good and that's the longest he's been on the mound," Reaves said. "We shut him down right where we wanted to because he hasn't thrown very much. I thought we could end it in seven (innings) because we put up a nine-spot, and we were looking pretty good."
But that didn't happen.
Reaves began scrambling when catcher Pate was injured in the third inning. Oglesby had replaced Pate behind the plate and when it was his turn to pitch, he wasn't prepared since he had no time in the bullpen. The right-hander allowed the first three Kinston batters to reach base in the sixth. All three scored to close the gap to 9-4 and helped spark a seven-run rally that lasted three innings.
Reaves also threw left-hander Erik Lovett and right-hander Jesse Lancaster, who combined to give up five runs (one earned) on three hits in two innings.
In all, the many errors led to five unearned runs.
"I wanted to go get the tent that the Legionnaires had and pitch it right out here (on the field) so I could put a tent over this circus," Reaves said.
Meanwhile, Post 43 hurler Richard Nobles shut down Post 11 after relieving starter Paul Novicki. The right-hander from Kinston High threw a perfect third and fourth inning, and didn't surrender a hit until Garrett Sutton legged out a bunt single in the fifth.
Wayne County (15-3) threatened to score in the sixth, but left runners on the corners.
"We had very few quality plate appearances when they put Nobles in," said Reaves, whose team had 16 hits overall with seven coming against Nobles. "He's throwing us soft and away (off the plate). We take the approach that we've got to yank everything. We had absolutely terrible approaches at the plate and we've got to prove to them that we can hit it the other way.
"Then they'll challenge us inside."
Clinging to a 9-7 lead, Post 11 collected three much-needed runs in the seventh.
Lancaster drilled a two-out double into right center field and scored when Jes Snyder ripped a Nobles curveball back up the middle. Snyder crossed home on Lovett's base hit to left field. MacCoy drove in Lovett on a beautifully-executed hit-and-run play where Lovett scored all the way from first. Wayne County led 12-7 at that point.
Kinston rallied to within 12-9 before Reaves called hard-throwing Philip Cunningham from the bullpen. The right-hander retired all four batters he faced en route to his second save of the season.
Kinston 010 003 320 -- 9 10 3
Wayne County 090 000 30x -- 12 16 7
Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Jesse Lancaster 1-4, 2B, RBI; Jes Snyder 3-5, 2 RBI; Erik Lovett 3-5, RBI; Todd MacCoy 3-5, 2 RBI; David Combs 2-5, RBI; Josh Pate 1-1, RBI; Garrett Sutton 2-3, RBI. Kinston -- Trey Hardison 2-5, RBI; Joel Battle 2-4, 2B; Reggie Dixon 2-4, 2 2Bs, 2 RBI; Chad Kirby 1-5, 2 RBI.
DP -- Wayne County 1. LOB -- Wayne County 8, Kinston 8. SF -- Jordan. SH -- Pate. SB -- Dixon, Williams, Snyder, MacCoy.
IP H R ER BB SO
Kinston Post 43
Novicki (L) 12Ú3 9 9 9 3 3
Nobles 61Ú3 7 3 3 0 2
Wayne County Post 11
Pennington (W, 1-0) 5 5 1 0 0 5
Oglesby 1 2 3 2 1 1
Lovett 1 2 3 2 0 4
Lancaster 2Ú3 1 2 0 2 2
Cunningham (S, 2) 11Ú3 0 0 0 0 3
WP -- Pennington 2, Lovett, Lancaster, Novicki, Nobles. PB -- Combs 3. HBP -- Vinson (by Novicki); Battle (by Lancaster).
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