Mistakes haunt Wayne County
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 27, 2004 1:56 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- After a shaky 7-4 loss to Garner on Monday night at Scarborough Field in game one of the Area I Championship Series, the precedent exists for Wayne County to bounce back.
Following a loss to Garner in the middle of the season, Post 11 reeled off 11 straight wins. In its semifinal playoff series with Pitt County Post 39, Wayne County dropped the opening game at home only to win two straight to claim the series.
Still, Post 11 coach Brad Reaves knows it will take a much more complete effort tonight in Game 2 at Garner High School. His team committed four errors on Monday, leading to three unearned runs. Despite out-hitting Post 232 (18-8), the home team never managed to string together enough timely hits in key situations offensively.
Wayne County (27-6) stranded 11 base runners, including five in scoring position.
"We've got to cut out the mistakes. There are no weak teams left," Reaves said. "When you make mistakes, mental and physical, that's not going to get it done against this team.
"We didn't take good approaches at the plate, and we didn't hit the ball where it was pitched."
Garner, who is 2-1 on the season against Post 11, surged to a its biggest lead of the game at 7-2 in the top of the seventh when Brandon Holmquist and Mike Pullen smacked back-to-back, one-out singles to left field off Wayne County reliever Ashton Langston. Post 232's Mark Carver started the two-run rally by reaching on an infield throwing error.
Post 11 reliever Jesse Lancaster came on to retire the final two batters of the seventh and kept Garner off of the scoreboard for the final two innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Wayne County's Airlon Vinson drove in Jes Snyder from third with a single to right and appeared to have plated Erik Lovett. Lovett was ruled out at home plate after a high tag by the catcher on a throw from right by Jesse Duke for the second out of the inning.
Post 11 continued to threaten in the eighth as Garner reliever Greg Watkins hit the first batter he faced, Matthew Holloman. With one out, Garrett Sutton scored Holloman with a base hit up the middle as Lancaster followed with a single -- setting up a first and second situation with one out with Snyder and Lovett coming up. Watkins retired Snyder with a deep fly to center before getting Lovett out on a ground ball to first to end the threat.
Watkins struck out the side in the ninth to finish the game.
"We sure didn't string things together like we have been doing," Reaves said.
One Wayne County error in the second and third set up one unearned run each in those innings against Post 11 starter Philip Pennington, who suffered his first loss of the season in three innings of work. Pennington (3-1) gave up four hits with a strikeout and one walk.
UNC-Wilmington signee Jeff Hatcher picked up the win for Garner -- pitching around four walks and a hit batter. Hatcher yielded only three runs on nine hits in seven innings. Hatcher had three strikeouts against the four walks. Hatcher benefited from solid defense behind him -- especially early in the game. Pullen, Garner's left fielder, robbed Lovett of a hit with a diving grab in shallow left field in the first with runners on first and second.
Post 232 turned a 4-6-3 double play in the second before Carver, the catcher, cut down Sutton trying to steal second to end the inning.
With Wayne County's Grant Sasser on the mound, Jesse Duke pushed Garner out to a 4-1 lead with a two-run home run to leftfield. Sasser retired the final six batters he faced during his relief stint before giving way to Langston, who yielded two earned runs on four hits in 11Ú3 innings.
Offensively, Snyder led the way for Post 11 with three hits in five plate appearances, while Lancaster, Vinson and Sutton had two hits and one RBI each. Austin Hood contributed a two-out single to right in the sixth to close Garner's lead to 5-2.
From the second spot in the lineup, Snyder turned in his eighth multi-hit game in 10 outings, while Lancaster provided his seventh.
First pitch at Garner High School is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"Most of the time, they (Wayne County) are a measuring stick for us," Garner coach Moe Barbour said. "If we can play with them or beat them, we know we've got a pretty good ball club too."
2004 Area I
(at Mount Olive College)
Garner 011 201 200 -- 7 10 1
Wayne County 001 001 110 -- 4 11 4
Leading hitters -- Garner -- Marc Locklear 2-4, 2B; Mike Pullen 1-5, 2 RBI; J.P. Primus 2-5, 2 runs; Jesse Duke 3-4, HR, 3 RBI. Wayne County -- Jesse Lancaster 2-4; Jes Snyder 3-5; Airlon Vinson 2-4, RBI; Austin Hood 1-3, RBI; Garrett Sutton 2-4, RBI.
DP -- Wayne County 1, Garner 1. LOB -- Wayne County 11, Garner 8. SB -- Locklear, Pullen. CS -- Sutton. SH -- MacCoy. SF -- Pullen.
IP H R ER BB SO
Hatcher (W) 7 9 3 2 4 3
Watkins 2 2 1 1 0 3
Pennington (L, 3-1) 3 4 2 0 1 1
Sasser 2 2 2 2 0 1
Langston 11Ú3 4 3 2 0 0
Lancaster 21Ú3 0 0 0 1 2
WP -- Hatcher 2, Langston. PB -- Carver. HBP -- Medlin 2 (by Sasser, by Lancaster ), Carver (by Lancaster), Vinson (by Hatcher), Holloman (by Watkins).
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