05/22/05 — Post 11's success relies on pitching

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Post 11's success relies on pitching

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 22, 2005 2:17 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- If pitching is a cornerstone to success, then Wayne County Post 11 just might build the foundation for another Area I East title this season.

A solid nucleus returns, including two hurlers who fashioned perfect campaigns in 2004. Right-hander Garrett Davis, a rising junior at Charles B. Aycock, finished 4-0 with a 2.65 earned run average (ERA) in 12 outings. Jesse Lancaster ended up 1-0 with most appearances coming in relief.

Grant Sasser, a left-hander, and Adam Williams combined for nine wins.

That quartet is the corps third-year manager Brad Reaves will depend on as Post 11 goes after its seventh Area I East crown since 1994.

"Our strength will once again be pitching," said Reaves. "Williams, Sasser and Davis all gained valuable mound experience last year. Lancaster, (Dustin) Overman and (Matthew) Holloman had great high school seasons.

"Lancaster did not throw much last year, but will be counted on this year."

Reaves plans to rest Lancaster, Overman and Holloman in an effort to have them ready for postseason play. Lancaster recorded 86 strikeouts in 67 innings for Eastern Wayne, which advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoffs.

Overman notched a 1.31 ERA to go along with 99 strikeouts for Rosewood, which remained in contention for a postseason berth until its final regular-season game. Holloman did not throw last summer due to tendinitis, but ended up 5-0 for the Saints, who nearly made the playoffs.

"(Holloman) is healthy," said Reaves. "Overman will need a little rest, but will be fine. Michael Sigmond pitched in some pressure situations at Lenoir Community College, and should be a big plus for us."

Sigmond, however, won't arrive until LCC finishes postseason play. The Lancers are in position to the return to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series.

Reaves has placed emphasis on pitching each season and contends the playing schedule isn't a sprint, but a marathon. He used at least three arms in nearly every game last season and refused to extend a strict pitch-count limit.

The starters usually threw five innings and the relievers took over. A staff of 11 hurlers combined for a team ERA of 3.26 last season and opposing teams batted just .233. Five pitchers had at least three or more wins on the mound.

Reaves isn't sure who will get the starting nod in today's 3 p.m. opener against Wilmington Post 10.

Run production

Without power hitters Erik Lovett and Todd MacCoy, producing runs might be a concern for Reaves. Post 11 will also be without Jes Snyder, who posted the team's highest batting average a year ago.

"Snyder is having a great year and will be counted on to carry a lot of the load," Reaves said. "Some of the newcomers will step up as well, they always do. We will have to do a better job of manufacturing runs this year instead of waiting for the big inning."