Wayne-New Bern Legion series coming down to wire
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 14, 2004 1:56 PM
NEW BERN -- A one-game season.
Chris Beck created that scenario with one swing of the aluminum Tuesday evening. The New Bern lead-off batter stroked a 2-0 fastball over the right field fence for a three-run home run and lifted Post 24 to a stunning come-from-behind 11-9 victory against Wayne County Post 11.
Beck's eighth-inning home run evened the best-of-three, Area I East South Division first-round series at 1-1. The deciding contest is tonight at 7 o'clock at Mount Olive College. The survivor faces second-seeded Pitt County 39 in the semifinals scheduled to begin Friday.
"We had our hands around their throat and we didn't put them away early," Post 11 coach Brad Reaves said. "They're good enough (that) they're going to hang around and they have good enough players who will whip your butt if you let them stay in there long enough."
New Bern (12-7) handed Wayne County a postseason loss for the second straight year and snapped its 12-game win streak. Since 1993, however, Post 11 owns an 8-3 advantage against Post 24 in the playoffs.
"This was a confidence builder for them," Reaves said.
Wayne County erupted for a six-run lead in the opening inning.
Jesse Lancaster ripped an 0-1 fastball from Lemmie Barwick over the left field fence to start the early offensive surge. It was Lancaster's second home run of the season.
Airlon Vinson provided an RBI single and Philip Pennington added an RBI double. Josh Pate, a right-handed hitter, boosted the advantage to 5-0 with an opposite-field double down the right field line.
Post 24's defense booted a routine ground ball, which led to the final run.
Wayne County (21-4) added a single run in the second and two in the fourth. However, Post 11 wouldn't scratch the remainder of the game. Barwick retired seven of the final eight batters he faced before giving way to reliever Joey Young.
Young, a hard-luck loser in his past two relief appearances, threw a perfect eighth inning. He yielded a two-out, ninth-inning single to Pennington before inducing an infield pop-up from pinch-hitter Garrett Davis to end the game.
"We quit playing baseball in the middle innings," Reaves said.
Post 24 didn't quit.
After getting shut out in the sixth by Post 11 reliever Ashton Langston, New Bern pulled within a run in the eighth. Beck drilled a one-out single to right field and beat the throw to second on a fielder's choice by Chris Watson.
Langston struck out designated hitter Chris Holder for the second out, but gave up a two-strike, two-RBI single to David Towarnicky. Towarnicky later scored on an infield error.
Post 24 went for the tie on the same error, but catcher David Combs corraled the wild throw. He threw to Langston, who waited at the plate to tag out Pat Ball to end the inning.
"We should be out of that inning when we get a ground ball right here," said Reaves, who pointed toward second base. "He did have a good (sixth) inning, but we should have been out of the next inning -- plain and simple.
"We kick it right there and that's three outs. We didn't make some good decisions on some ground balls."
Philip Cunningham replaced Langston on the mound and surrendered consecutive walks to Ben Fuller and Brinson Fuller. A fielder's choice led to one out and set the table for Beck, who denied Cunningham's bid for his fifth save.
Beck is the fifth player to homer against Post 11 this season.
2004 Area I East
South Division playoffs
(at Boykin Field, New Bern HS)
Wayne County 610 200 000 -- 9 10 3
New Bern 320 000 33x -- 11 7 1
Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Jesse Lancaster 2-3, HR, RBI; Jes Snyder 2-5, 2B, RBI; Todd MacCoy 1-4, RBI; Airlon Vinson 1-4, RBI; Philip Pennington 2-5, 2B, RBI; Josh Pate 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Austin Hood 1-3. New Bern -- Chris Beck 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Chris Watson 1-4, RBI; David Towarnicky 2-4, 2 RBI; Pat Ball 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Jimmy Lee 1-4.
LOB -- Wayne County 7, New Bern 5. SB -- Hood, Sutton. CS -- Sutton. SH -- Seymore.
IP H R ER BB SO
Wayne County Post 11
Sasser 5 4 5 4 2 2
Langston 2 2 3 2 1 4
Cunningham (L, 2-1) 1 1 3 3 2 1
New Bern Post 24
Barwick 7 9 9 8 4 3
Young (W) 2 1 0 0 0 2
WP -- Barwick, Sasser. HBP -- Holder (by Sasser), Be. Fuller (by Sasser); MacCoy (by Barwick); Hood (by Barwick).
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