05/12/05 — EW secures playoff berth

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EW secures playoff berth

Published in Sports on May 12, 2005 2:18 PM

No motivation necessary last night in New Hope.

Still smarting over their loss to Charles B. Aycock Tuesday, the Eastern Wayne baseball team came out and took care of business -- handling Kinston 11-1 in five innings.

The win nails down a Class 3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff berth for the Warriors. It also eliminates Aycock and Southern Wayne from post-season play.

"I told our kids that Aycock lost 9-2 Monday, then came out and played like the N.Y. Yankees against us," said coach Jabo Fulghum. "That was yesterday. Today is a new day. We accepted the challenge, and we're excited about what lies ahead."

It wasn't just a win. It was clearly a team victory. Eight of nine starters had hits, scored runs or knocked in runs. Jesse Lancaster and Tyler Mitchell wielded the big sticks, both had two singles.

After Kinston went ahead 1-0 in the top of the second inning, Eastern Wayne put a pensive crowd at ease as they sent seven batters to the plate and scored three runs. Singles by Chris Davis, Billy McKinley, Mitchell, and Lancaster did the damage.

The Warriors did themselves one better in the following inning. This time, eight batters produced five runs. The offense was generated by the middle of the order through walks to Airlon Vinson, Michael Mintz, and McKinley. These were complemented by singles from Trey Johnson, Mitchell, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Davis.

Fulghum's club put the game away in the fifth. Eight players again batted with three walking and one hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded and two out, Mintz's single brought in Joey Moye from third with the winning run.

Fulghum lavished praise on his nucleus of seniors, who have led the squad to three consecutive seasons of playoff competition.

"Airlon Vinson, a three year starter has played great all season," he said.

Vinson was joined by Lane Ward, Davis, Mitchell, McKinley, Trey Johnson, and Jesse Lancaster.

Besides being a four year starter, Lancaster has the unenviable task of filling in for the injured catcher, Tyler Ham. Ham broke his wrist in the Aycock game.

"Some positions you can replace," said Fulghum. "It's very, very difficult to replace your starting catcher. Good teams find a way to pick each other up. Somehow, we'll get it done."

He also recognized McKinley for a job well done on the mound. Not allowing an earned run, he permitted one walk, while striking out five.

"Billy mixed his pitches well and hit his locations perfectly," he added. "I'm excited. The team is excited. We're ready. Jesse Lancaster will pitch Tuesday. Last year, we lost in 14 innings against Manteo.

"We're just ready to get back."