03/20/05 — Prep baseball -- EW drops Eagles

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Prep baseball -- EW drops Eagles

Published in Sports on March 20, 2005 2:09 AM

Pitching and breaks were the difference in Eastern Wayne's 11-2 victory over West Craven on Friday evening.

Coach Jabo Fulghum had good reason to be proud of his team's effort. The Warriors got sparkling performances from starter Airlon Vinson and reliever Billy McKinley. They also took advantage of every break they got and created a few on their own.

Eastern Wayne's record goes to 3-1 in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play, good for second place, and 3-2 overall. West Craven's slate drops to 3-5 overall and 2-2 in conference.

The Warriors wasted little time teeing off on Eagle starter Timothy Creech. Second baseman Jesse Lancaster led off, hitting the second pitch of the game over the 330-foot sign in left center field.

That was the prelude of bigger things to come.

Batting around, they scored five runs in the opening inning. Only one of them was earned. Three walks, two errors, two steals, a passed ball, and a wild pitch did the rest of the damage.

Meanwhile, Vinson, who picked up his second win of the season without a defeat, seemed to have picked up some residual 'luck of the Irish' -- a day after St. Patrick's Day.

After not letting a ball out of the infield in the first inning, West Craven sent seven men to the plate in the second, six in the third, and five in the fifth, emerging with only two runs. One run was earned.

With no outs in the second and two runners on first and third, left-fielder Billy Budding looped a single to right. Right-fielder Chris Davis fielded the ball on the first hop. His throw got to catcher Tyler Ham just in time to nail Creech as he slid towards the plate. Only Caleb Wetherington was able to score off a single by Sean Druse.

The next inning, West Craven loaded the bases with two outs. Lancaster came to the rescue again, defensively this time, grabbing Zach VanVourhees' smoking grounder, getting the ball to first baseman Lane Ward, who caught the runner by half a step.

After giving up a run in the fifth, Vinson turned the ball over to McKinley. He faced only the standard six hitters. he allowed two hits, and picked up two strikeouts.

Up 6-2, Eastern Wayne went after some insurance runs in its half of the sixth. The Warriors batted around again and plated five runs. Three walks (Davis, McKinley, Taylor Sutton), and three singles (Ham, Lancaster, Vinson) were a rude reception to reliever VanVourhees.

"Take away the first inning, and you've got a different ball game," said West Craven coach Morgan O'Neil. "When you make errors behind your pitcher, as we did, well-coached teams like Eastern Wayne will take full advantage."

West Craven will entertain C.B. Aycock next Tuesday afternoon at 5.

"Given the conditions, it was a tough night to play," said Fulghum. "Davis' throw to the plate was big. That really took away a lot of their momentum."

Eastern Wayne will attempt to build on the momentum of the win Monday with a trip to defending Class 4-A champion J.H. Rose. The Rampants escaped 2-1 against the Warriors in extra innings on March 2.