07/21/04 — Game one to Wayne County

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Game one to Wayne County

By David Williams
Published in Sports on July 21, 2004 1:55 PM

Poised Post 11 takes Area One East series' opening game

MOUNT OLIVE -- Confidence means a lot in the postseason. Converting that confidence into action -- especially in the late innings -- is what makes a good postseason team a great one.

Wayne County and Wilson County both have a lot of confidence after opening the postseason with two series wins each. The difference in Game One of the Area 1 East Championship series Tuesday night was Wayne County's ability to convert confidence into action in the middle and late innings.

That was the biggest part of Post 11s' 8-4 win over Post 13 at Scarborough Field on Tuesday evening.

The victory marked Wayne County's fourth at home in five postseason games as it improved to 19-1 overall at Scarborough Field this season. Game Two of the bst-of-five series begins tonight at Wilson's Fleming Stadium at 7 p.m. A berth in the American Legion state tournament is st stake for the winner.

Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Wayne sent 11 batters to the plate against Wilson County starter Chris Hill and got five runs on five hits. The rally started at the bottom of the order as No. 7 hitter Matthew Holloman reached on an error before Austin Hood's bunt single. Leadoff hitter Jesse Lancaster then delivered a two-run triple over the center fielder's head before back-to-back two-out singles by Erik Lovett and Todd MacCoy. Both Lovett and MacCoy came home on a clutch base hit to left by Josh Pate to cap the five-run outburst.

The top five hitters in Wayne County's order -- Lancaster, Jes Snyder, Lovett, MacCoy and Airlon Vinson -- went a combined 13-for-20 and drove in six of the eight runs. Post 11 has belted a whopping 32 hits combined in its last two postseason games.

Wayne County (25-5), who stranded 10 runners total and had three more thrown out on the bases, went scoreless in innings two-through-five against Hill before taking an 8-4 lead.

"We didn't take enough pitches," Wayne County coach Brad Reaves said. "We climbed in the box and the first thing he threw up there, we swung at it."

Charles B. Aycock graduate and Mount Olive College signee Phillip Cunningham relieved Post 11 starter Grant Sasser in the sixth. With an 8-4 cushion, the right-hander allowed no runs on only one hit with six strikeouts in four innings of relief work to pick up the win.

"I've been pretty shaky the last two outings, but tonight I just felt better," Cunningham said. " I pitched, more so than just trying to throw it by people. Having (Josh) Pate back behind the plate helped out a lot."

Wayne County's defense was stout, ending the game on a 5-4-3 double play to secure Cunningham's first win of the postseason. Post 11 committed only one error for the game.

Post 11 jumped out to a 3-0 inning in the bottom of the first as Lancaster, who doubled to right-center field, Snyder and Lovett all reached base with hits to the opposite field. Snyder knocked home Lancaster before scoring ahead of Lovett on Vinson's two-run double to left.

Lancaster reached base five times and was 4-for-4, with two RBI and two runs scored. Lovett had three hits, including a double, and scored twice with one RBI. Snyder, MacCoy and Vinson provided two hits each.

After back-to-back perfect innings, Sasser ran into trouble in the third. A lead-off walk and singles by Andrew Joyner and Jonathan Davis loaded the bases. David Bunn scored Post 13's first run on a fielder's choice, while Joyner came home on a wild pitch to make the score 3-2.

Wilson County posted two more runs in the fourth as Allen Corbett provided a sacrifice fly to score David Powell, who doubled. Bunn delivered a clutch two-out hot to score Bobby Hawkins.

Reaves credited Sasser for bouncing back with a scoreless fifth to keep Wayne County within striking distance.

"He kept us in the ball game for five innings," Reaves said. "That's all you can ask out of a 15-year old kid."

Left-hander Jake Skinner finished the game for Wilson County, tossing two innings of scoreless relief work.

2004 Area 1 East

Championship Series


(at Mount Olive College)

Game 1

Wilson County 002 200 000 -- 4 8 1

Wayne County 300 005 00x -- 8 15 1

Leading hitters -- Wilson County -- David Powell 3-4, 2B; Andrew Joyner 2-4; David Bunn 1-1, RBI. Wayne County -- Jesse Lancaster 4-4, 3B, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Jes Snyder 2-5, RBI; Erik Lovett 3-4, 2B, RBI, 2 runs; Todd MacCoy 2-4; Airlon Vinson 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Josh Pate 1-5, 2 RBI.

DP -- Wilson County 1, Wayne County 2. LOB -- Wilson County 4, Wayne County 10. SB -- Snyder, Powell. CS -- MacCoy, Snyder. SF -- Corbett.


Wilson County

Hill (L) 6 13 8 4 1 2

Skinner 2 2 0 0 1 1

Wayne County

Sasser 5 7 4 4 1 3

Cunningham (W, 3-1) 4 1 0 0 2 6

WP -- Sasser. HBP -- Lancaster (by Hill); Vinson 2 (by Hill).