07/23/04 — Wayne County sweepa Wilson for Area One East title

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Wayne County sweepa Wilson for Area One East title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 23, 2004 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Wayne County Post 11 pitching staff is following an unorthodox pattern in the postseason. In nine playoff games, the bullpen has notched seven wins compared to two by starting pitchers.

Jesse Lancaster has collected the lone save.

Considered unusual by baseball standards, it's a trend that doesn't concern coach Brad Reaves. He and his coaching staff expected the bullpen to shoulder the pressure of getting the job done.

Brett Butts proved Reaves' theory Thursday evening. The hard-throwing right-hander earned the win in relief -- a 13-5 decision against Wilson Post 13 at Scarborough Field. Wayne County swept the best-of-five series 3-0 and claimed its sixth Area I East Division championship since 1994.

Butts became the sixth different pitcher to seize a postseason win.

"Maybe we pitch backwards or something, but we set it up like that," Reaves said. "Our starting guys, if they get us to five and we're still in it, we're in good shape. That's what we ask of them because we all have them on a pitch count.

"Once they get us to five, we let our bullpen take over and our bullpen has been good enough to do that this season."

Garrett Davis drew the starting nod and exited in the fifth inning. The right-hander yielded one earned run on four hits, but departed when he gave up a lead-off single to Jonathan Davis in the fifth.

Wilson (16-17) pulled within 3-2 in the inning, but could get no closer. Butts didn't suffer any significant damage and shut down Post 13. He retired seven consecutive batters, including striking out the side in the seventh.

Butts escaped an extremely shaky eighth inning. He fell victim to an accordion-like strike zone and walked the first two Wilson batters. Two outs later, the defense kicked around two balls that allowed Post 13 to climb within 7-5.

"There wasn't anything really routine," Reaves said of the defensive miscues. "We get the ball up the middle and Airlon (Vinson) thought the ball was going up the middle (for a hit), so he's out of place and you can't really see (from second base). You throw and there is nobody there (at first).

"Then we get another ball in the 3-4 hole, make a dive and it kicks off our glove. Those are tough errors to swallow."

Reaves stayed with Butts, who looked like a different pitcher in the ninth. He got ahead in the count with a wicked curveball and encountered little trouble en route to his fourth win of the season. Wilson's David Powell dropped a two-out single into right field, but he stayed at first base when Butts retired Bobby Hawkins to end the game.

Butts finished with six strikeouts in a five-inning stint and ran his three-year Legion record to 10-1 on the mound.

Reaves commented that neither team appeared too eager to win the game the first three innings. Post 13 left-hander Jonathan Proctor limited Wayne County to two hits in the first three innings before giving up three runs in the fourth.

That opened the offensive floodgates for Post 11, which roughed up Proctor and two relievers for a series-high 17 hits. Vinson, Jes Snyder and Garrett Sutton each provided three hits. Erik Lovett, Philip Pennington and Matthew Holloman each had two hits and combined for seven RBI.

Todd MacCoy finished 1-for-4 and has hit safely in all nine postseason games.

"It seems like it takes us a time through the lineup to see a pitcher, and then we kind of lock in a little better," Reaves said. "There are very few times this year where we've scored in the first and second inning. We might score in the first, but just shut down in the second or third.

"There, at the end, I thought we had some better plate appearances."

Wayne County beat Wilson for the eighth straight time in the playoffs dating back to 1993. Post 11 earned its third trip since 2000 to the N.C. American Legion State tournament, which begins Aug. 4 in Shelby.

"I told the boys it's not just enough to get there," Reaves said. "We've got to play better baseball or it's two (games) and we're coming home."

Before heading west, however, Wayne County (27-5) entertains either Garner or Wake Forest in the Area I Championship series, which begins Monday at Scarborough Field.

2004 Area I East Division

Championship Series

(at Scarborough Field)

Game 3

Wilson 001 010 030 -- 5 7 3

Wayne County 000 311 26x -- 13 17 4

Wayne Co. wins series 3-0

Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Jes Snyder 3-5, 2B; Erik Lovett 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Todd MacCoy 1-4; Philip Pennington 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Airlon Vinson 3-5, RBI; Matthew Holloman 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Garrett Sutton 3-4, 2 RBI. Wilson -- David Powell 2-4, RBI; David Bunn 2-4, 2B; Jonathan Proctor 1-3, 3B.

DP -- Wayne County 1. LOB -- Wayne County 6, Wilson 8. SB -- Lovett, Sutton. CS -- Sutton. SF -- Pennington.


Wilson Post 13

Proctor (L) 6 7 5 2 1 7

Skinner 11Ú3 6 5 4 1 0

Joyner 12Ú3 4 3 2 0 1

Wayne County Post 11

Davis 4 4 2 1 4 3

Butts (W, 4-0) 5 3 3 1 2 6

WP -- Proctor, Joyner. HBP -- Lancaster (by Skinner).