07/07/04 — Post 11 clinches South Division championship

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Post 11 clinches South Division championship

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 7, 2004 1:57 PM

KINSTON -- Ten straight wins and an Area One East South Division championship.

The win streak of Wayne County's American Legion team has included regular season sweeps of both Pitt County squads, Snow Hill -- and now Kinston following a 12-1 win on Tuesday night at Kinston High School in seven innings.

Quite a resume.

Wayne County, now 19-3 overall and 8-1 in the division, continued its current streak with more solid pitching. This time, rising Charles B. Aycock sophomores Grant Sasser and Garrett Davis combined on a four-hitter while issuing just two walks.

Sasser, who pitched five scoreless innings of three-hit work, improved to 3-1 as the left-hander has now given up just six earned runs in 24 innings of work this season. After pitching out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the first, Sasser yielded just one more hit over the next four innings.

Davis tossed a perfect sixth before Kinston, trailing 12-0, scored its only run in the seventh. Post 43 benefited from a passed ball on a strikeout and an RBI single by Andrew Pope with two outs to get on the board. The hard-throwing right-hander had three strikeouts in the seventh and now has 15 strikeouts in 14 innings on the season.

The effort marked the seventh time this year that the deep Post 11 pitching staff has held an opponent to one run or less. In division play, five opponents have been limited to under three runs.

"Those arms got us here, and we got such timely hitting," Wayne County coach Brad Reeves said. "These two freshmen have just stepped up big. We saw a lot of things out of those two kids that could be huge for us come playoff time."

The pair stayed around the strike zone for most of the night and benefited from errorless defensive play behind them as the offense steadily pulled away from Post 43 (8-10, 3-4), who never seemed to get on track offensively or defensively.

Wayne County went scoreless in the first and second off of Kinston left-hander Paul Novicki before three errors by the Post 43 shortstop in the third led to two unearned runs. Leadoff hitter Jesse Lancaster, who finished with four hits, supplied the first of his two RBI during the three-run rally that pushed Post 11 out to a 3-0 lead.

"Jesse might not get two or three hits a night, but he gets on base two or three times," Reeves said. "He had a huge night tonight, though."

Post 11 tacked on two runs in the fifth on a two-RBI single by Todd MacCoy and added two more in the sixth with Kinston reliever Chad Kirby on the mound. Lancaster and Jes Snyder, who had four RBI between them, drove in one run each against the right-handed reliever, scoring Matthew Holloman and Austin Hood, respectively.

Hood finished with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate with two doubles, while driving in two and scoring three times.

Wayne County posted five runs in the seventh on five hits against Kirby. Hood provided a two-run double with two outs and scored one batter later on Kinston's fifth error, which extended the inning long enough for Wayne County to tally three more runs to take a 12-0 lead.

Airlon Vinson, David Combs, Lancaster and Snyder all had hits during the game-breaking rally.

"This is a team of role players. They always seem to find a way to get a big hit," Reeves said.

Pope, Reggie Dixon, Trey Hardison and Brandon House provided singles for Post 43, who returns to action today at Pitt County Post 39. Kinston currently sits one game ahead of Snow Hill in the loss column for fourth place in the division with the two foes set to meet on Thursday and Friday.

Wayne County, who will open up the Area One East playoffs at home on July 12 against an opponent to be determined, will be gunning for its eighth-straight division win when it hosts New Bern on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Post 11 concludes the regular season against non-division foe Beaufort County on Saturday night. Today's road contest against Wilmington has been canceled.

"I told them to enjoy this until Sunday, and then we want to win in the second season," Reeves said. "You play in the first season to win the second season, and that's what we want."

Wayne County 003 022 5 -- 12 12 0

Kinston 000 000 1 -- 1 4 5

Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Jesse Lancaster 4-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 runs; Jes Snyder 1-4, 2B, 4 RBI; Todd MacCoy 1-4, 2 RBI; Airlon Vinson 2-4; Austin Hood 3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 3 runs. Kinston -- Andrew Pope 1-3, RBI.


Wayne County

Grant Sasser (W, 3-1) 5 3 0 0 1 3

Garrett Davis 2 1 1 1 1 3


Paul Novicki (L) 5 5 5 3 2 3

Chad Kirby 2 7 7 4 1 1

PB -- Combs.