03/10/05 — Prep baseball -- EW battles back

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Prep baseball -- EW battles back

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 10, 2005 2:13 PM

Last week, Eastern Wayne's defense let them down in a season opening loss to Greenville Rose.

Wednesday night on another chilly night in New Hope, the shoe was on the other foot for another Pitt County team -- South Central.

Helped by six Falcon errors in the fifth and sixth innings combined, the Warriors erased a 5-1 deficit and battled back for a 7-5 win in both team's Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener.

Before recording a single out in the bottom of the sixth, South Central (1-2, 0-1 ECC) made four errors and Bryant Cook issued the visitors' seventh walk of the game before junior Joye Moye and senior Airlon Vinson provided clutch singles to left to plate the final two runs -- pushing the score to its final margin.

By games end, five of South Central's seven runs allowed by Cook and starter Bill Hopkins proved to unearned.

"At the end, it came down to who wanted it more. They threw the ball around and so did we," Vinson said. "Every now and again we got some big hits, then in the seventh we got a couple."

Three Warrior pitchers, Jesse Lancaster, Taylor Sutton and Vinson, combined to yield just three hits, averaging a strikeout per inning. In one inning of relief, the sophomore Sutton picked up his first career win at the varsity level, while Vinson came on in the seventh to strikeout the heart of the South Central order after issuing a lead-off walk.

"Jesse threw the ball well, and we made a couple of errors in the fifth. Taylor came in and pitched well, then Airlon came in and found the strike zone in the seventh," Warriors' coach Jabo Fulghum said. "I've got to give a lot of credit to coach (Derek) Burress. He does a good job with our pitchers, and all of our assistant coaches work hard."

Lancaster, who allowed two hits in five innings against Conley last week, was solid again through four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. His first two runs proved to be unearned as the Warriors (1-1, 1-0) committed two errors to start the first and fifth, allowing baserunners that eventually came around to score.

Also in the fifth, Eastern Wayne botched a run-down play that allowed runners to move to second and third in and had one passed ball, which scored Edward Greene for the Falcons final run.

Greene, who had a game-best three RBI, and Bill Hopkins had RBI hits in the fifth for South Central, while Lancaster hit Tyrell Worthington and Brandon Brown with pitches. Lancaster recorded the final two outs of the fourth as the score stood at 5-1.

Eastern Wayne answered in the bottom of the fifth when Chris Brown, Moye and Lancaster worked three walks in a row against Hopkins. Brown was cut down at home for the first out on a quick recovery by Falcons' catcher Matt Scoggin on what would have been a passed ball.

Hopkins got the second out and appeared to have the third, but Trey Johnson' s fly ball near the right field line was dropped by South Central, allowing Moye and Lancaster to race to the plate -- making the score 5-3. Bryant Cook came on to complete the fifth with a 4-3 putout.

Cook's defense let him down even more in the sixth as the Warriors rallied to take the lead.

"We won't swing a baseball bat for two hours at South Central tomorrow at practice," South Central coach Robert "P-Nut" Langston said. "That was the worst defensive display I have seen in my life. You don't give a good team more than three outs in an inning.

"We've got eight seniors, but I don't think we had much leadership."

Both team's return to ECC play on Friday as the Warriors travel to Washington, while the Falcons host Southern Wayne.

"We didn't quit. That was our thing today. We did a good job hitting with two strikes and two outs," Fulghum said. "We got down 5-1 and we could have stuck our heads between our legs, but we hung in there and won a big ball game."