03/25/05 — Saints drop ECC 3-A heartbreaker

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Saints drop ECC 3-A heartbreaker

Published in Sports on March 25, 2005 2:01 PM

DUDLEY -- If the lights at the Doyle Whitfield Sports Complex weren't being turned off, the Southern Wayne baseball team would probably still be running wind sprints after dropping a heartbreaking 10-8 decision to visiting Washington.

Coach Trae McKee was clearly not the happiest person in Wayne County after the contest.

"We got outplayed," he said. "Everyone was not locked in ready to go."

The loss evens up the Saints' record at 2-2 in Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play, and 3-3 overall. Washington evens their slate at 3-3 in conference and finds itself at 3-5 overall.

It had to be a hitters' moon shining brightly over Dudley. Both teams knocked out a total of 23 hits, 10 of them for extra bases. Seven pitchers saw action.

Neither team wasted any time displaying their offensive muscles. After Washington drew first blood in the top of the first, Southern Wayne sent eight batters to the plate, and scored four runs.

Ironically, the first seven batters reached base safely. Logan Porter opened the game with a walk. Brady Wiggins was hit by a pitch. Austin Hood, Mathew Holloman, Chris Carr, and David Combs singled. Josh Narron reached on an error. The rally came to an abrupt halt when one player was picked off second, while another was gunned down at the plate.

Adding to McKee's ire were the nine players left stranded on the basepaths. After Washington scored four times in the top of the second to take a 5-4 lead, Southern Wayne missed a golden opportunity in their half of the inning.

Carr and Narron led off with back-to-back singles. David Combs followed with a walk, loading the bases with no outs. The Saints just couldn't get it done as succeeding batters hit into a force play and struck out. Porter put Pam-Pack centerfielder Trent Whitehead up against the fence for the third out.

"That's a situation that hitters dream about all their lives," said McKee. "As I said, we just didn't get it done."

Washington added four insurance runs in the fourth when they batted around. A hit batsman, three doubles, and two singles were responsible for the damage. Combs and Holloman, in relief of starter Michael Steward and T.J. Hinson, shut out their guests for the final 32/3 innings, but the damage was done.

The Saints kept pecking away. They picked up two more in the sixth.

Hood led off with a triple to left. Holloman followed with a double driving him home. After going to third on a wild pitch, he came home with the final run on Combs' sacrifice fly to center.

Coach Rick Anderson brought his closer, Corey Rogerson in for the seventh. He retired the side in order.

"We knew that nothing less than a total team effort will beat a team like Southern Wayne at home," said Anderson. "Tonight, we had good effort on the mound, timely hits in key situations, and we made excellent plays in the field."