Conley tops Saints
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 6, 2005 2:12 AM
DUDLEY -- Ranked 10th in the preseason Class 4-A impactbaseball.com poll, Greenville D.H. Conley proved it was worthy of the recognition in its season opener on Friday at Southern Wayne.
Vikings' starter Aubrey Edens, an Appalachian State signee, stayed ahead in the count consistently through the game -- striking out seven against one walk and yielding just five hits in Conley's 7-1 win over the Saints.
Offensively, the middle and bottom of the Viking line-up did most of the damage.
Sixth-hitter Alex White doubled in both the fourth and fifth inning, while driving in three and sparking a six-run rally by his team in the two innings. Mike Taylor, hitting in the seventh spot, followed White's double in the fourth with a two-run, opposite-field triple that pushed Conley's lead to 4-0 and drove Saint starter Ashton Langston out of the contest.
Save two hit batsmen, Langston was solid in the first three innings -- keeping the Vikings off of the scoreboard.
"I thought we threw the ball well. We made a few mental mistakes that cost us, and then they get a big hit," Southern Wayne coach Trae McKee said. "We didn't throw it bad."
Against reliever Joseph Davis, White drove home Edens and Landis Wilson, who both singled, with his second double in the fifth. The two-bagger pushed the score to 6-0. The Vikings got one more run in the seventh as Edens scored his second run of the game on a fielder's choice by White. By game's end, White finished with four RBI.
Southern Wayne, returning seven starters from last year's playoff-qualifying team, never got on track against Edens. The senior-right hander issued a walk on four pitches to Logan Porter to start the game, then settled down and retired 11-straight batters going into the fifth. Edens didn't walk another batter, but hit one, while facing only three, three-ball counts on the game.
Edens benefited from errorless defense behind him with nearly half of the his outs coming on infield put-outs.
The Saints' Josh Narron led off the fifth with a single to right -- ending Edens' no-hit bid. Southern Wayne's lone run came in the sixth, when Matthew Holloman's base hit to left scored Davis, who started the inning with a double over the right-fielder's head. Garrett Barfield added an infield single in the sixth as he and Holloman advanced to second and third, before Edens finished the inning with no further damage.
Brady Wiggins had an infield single in the seventh.
"He threw the baseball where he wanted to ... kept us off-balance and he had a lot of life on his fastball. He didn't get in many patterns," McKee said.
Conley joins Wilmington Hoggard and West Brunswick as one of three non-conference opponents on Southern Wayne's schedule that were top-10 teams in the preseason poll. McKee hopes the tough, non-league tests will prepare his team for the always-tough Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference.
"We are playing a tough out of conference schedule to get ready for our conference. Every Tuesday and Friday you are going to face a quality opponent," McKee said. "We didn't lose much from last year's club. We've got some good boys that love to work hard. "
The Saints open conference play on Tuesday at home against Kinston at 5 p.m.
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