Wayne County takes 1-0 playoff series over New Bern
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 13, 2004 2:01 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Some might think Todd MacCoy's job as clean-up hitter is an uneviable task, especially when you're hitting behind Erik Lovett.
The job becomes more difficult when Lovett, one of the most respected batters on the American Senior Legion scene, doesn't see too many good pitches and leaves a runner on base for MacCoy to advance or score. MacCoy seems to handle the tension with ease and normally comes through in the clutch.
Such was the case Monday evening.
MacCoy delivered the game-winning hit in the seventh inning as Wayne County Post 11 prevailed 5-1 against New Bern Post 24 in the Area I East South Division playoffs. Wayne County took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series heading into tonight's contest at Boykin Field on the New Bern High School campus.
Tied at 1-1, Jes Snyder reached base safely when Post 24 right fielder Brinson Fuller appeared to catch his fly ball just inches from foul territory. Fuller lost his balance and the ball popped out of his glove.
"The umpire told me that the player was in foul territory, but the ball was in fair territory," New Bern coach Gary Smith said. "The player was in foul territory but I think when he fell and the ball popped out, the ball went back into fair territory."
Snyder advanced to second and remained there when New Bern left-hander Sean Noble struck out Lovett.
MacCoy worked Noble to a 2-2 count before drilling a hit up the middle. Snyder scored on the play as MacCoy collected his 27th hit and 20th RBI of the season.
"That's a big knock he got tonight," Post 11 coach Brad Reaves said. "That's a job ... got a lot of pressure hitting behind Lovett because Lovett is not going to get a whole lot to hit. That drops it all in MacCoy's lap.
"Todd found a way to get a big hit."
MacCoy's game-winning hit with a runner in scoring position was Wayne County's first in seven at-bats for the game. Noble, who beat Post 11 in his previous two outings, loaded the bases with consecutive walks to pinch-hitter Philip Pennington and Airlon Vinson.
Catcher Josh Pate slapped an outside pitch to the right-center field gap to clear the bases. That gave Wayne County a 5-1 cushion.
"MacCoy's hit, you don't get to worried about that -- a one-run game with two more hacks (at-bats)," Smith said. "Pate gets the hit that kind of takes the wind out of your sails."
New Bern (11-7) put runners aboard in the eighth inning, but failed to scratch. The visitors had runners on the corners and the game-tying run at the plate in the ninth. But Garrett Davis, in relief of left-hander Adam Williams, struck out pinch-hitter Dan Thomas to end the game.
Davis provided three shutout innings and notched four strikeouts en route to his fourth win of the season. Williams scattered seven hits and yielded an unearned run in six innings.
Noble allowed an unearned run on four hits through six innings before the disastrous seventh. Wayne County batted 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded four players at either second or third during that stretch.
Post 11 finished with six hits, including three by lead-off batter Jesse Lancaster.
"That little guy (Noble) beat us last year in the playoffs and beat us earlier (this year)," Reaves said. "He pitches a little bit; is kind of like our two left-handers. He's not going to throw it by you, but he pitches and commands both sides of the plate.
"These guys (opposing pitchers) are working us away and we're not willing to say 'I'm going to drive the baseball over there'. We've got to have better approaches up there. We're not the best offensive team in the world.
"What we do though is get big hits, which we've done all year."
Wayne County (21-3) completed a late-game comeback for the third time in its last five outings. Post 11 remained unbeaten in 15 home games and beat New Bern for the third time in their last five meetings.
Post 24 endured its fifth consecutive loss this season.
2004 Area I East
South Division Playoffs
First round -- Best-of-3
(at Scarborough Field)
New Bern 100 000 000 -- 1 11 3
Wayne Co. 100 000 40x -- 5 6 2
Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Jesse Lancaster 3-5; Todd MacCoy 1-2, RBI; Airlon Vinson 1-2; Josh Pate 1-4, 2B, 3 RBI. New Bern -- Chris Beck 3-4, 2B; Chris Watson 1-4; Chris Holder 1-4; David Towarnicky 2-4, 2B; Ben Fuller 2-4, 2B; Jimmy Lee 1-3; Todd Seymore 1-3.
LOB -- Wayne County 10, New Bern 7. SB -- Beck, Lancaster, Lovett. CS -- Lee, Seymore.
IP H R ER BB SO
New Bern Post 24
Noble (L) 7 6 5 0 6 7
Young 1 0 0 0 0 1
Wayne County Post 11
Williams 6 7 1 1 0 0
Davis (W, 4-0) 3 4 0 0 0 4
WP -- Williams. BK -- Noble. HBP -- Vinson (by Noble.)
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