05/18/05 — Southerland, Wilson Fike too much for Warriors

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Southerland, Wilson Fike too much for Warriors

By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on May 18, 2005 1:47 PM

WILSON -- A career-high six walks?

No problem for Wilson Fike staff ace Taylor Southerland.

Eastern Wayne found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time -- and facing the wrong pitcher -- in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoffs.

Southerland threw a two-hitter with nine strikeouts Tuesday night as the Golden Demons advanced with a 4-0 win over the Warriors at the Gilbert Ferrell Baseball Complex.

The senior left-hander had allowed a mere nine walks -- one an intentional pass -- during the regular season. Yet Eastern Wayne failed to cash in any of Southerland's abnormally frequent freebies.

The Warriors stranded seven baserunners and completed their season with a 14-9 record after grabbing the Eastern Carolina 3-A's No. 2 seed.

"This was a big game, and I knew what I had to do," Southerland said. "We haven't won a playoff game in a few years. It was time we stood up and did something about it. When I couldn't get the outs, our defense stood up and got the outs we needed.

"Our defense did a great job of sitting back and waiting for me to throw strikes."

Big Eight North 3-A champion Wilson Fike (18-6) played errorless defense in claiming its first playoff victory since 2001. The Golden Demons host South Central Pitt on Friday night in a second-round matchup.

"To beat Eastern Wayne and (coach Jabo) Fulghum is a great win for our program," Wilson Fike coach Will Flowers said. "It's just a good, good win. When Taylor is out there on the mound for us, it puts our boys at ease. He was tough tonight."

Eric Davis led the Golden Demons with two RBIs, and senior left fielder Matthew Robbins scored two runs.

David Powell provided Southerland (8-2) with all the necessary run support with a first-inning RBI single.

The inability to overcome the early deficit proved a tough pill to swallow for the Warriors, who escaped a rugged ECC 3-A schedule with one of the league's three available postseason berths.

"I told the kids I was proud of them for making it out of that tough conference," Fulghum said. "I wish we could've gone a little further, but it didn't work out that way. Teaching these kids about the game of life. Sometime it's fair, and sometimes it's not. That's the way life is.

"The kids battled. I'm proud of them. There will be another day."

Warriors senior right-hander Jesse Lancaster struck out 10 in a complete-game effort -- absorbing a tough-luck loss in his final game wearing an Eastern Wayne uniform.

The luck on the other side was much more forgiving.

"Yeah, I had some control problems," Southerland said through a noticeable grin. "The strike zone was pretty tight on both sides tonight. I guess I was just trying too hard."

Or just hard enough.

Notes: South Central Pitt, the No. 3 seed from the ECC 3-A, defeated Hertford County 15-1 in its playoff opener. ... Lancaster had allowed only one run over his previous 35 innings of work entering the game. ... Seniors Airlon Vinson and Trey Johnson each concluded their Eastern Wayne careers with a hit each. ... Wilson Fike is in pursuit of its first state baseball championship since 1999.