Wayne County rallies to top Snow Hill
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on June 6, 2005 2:00 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Coming through in the clutch was one of the characteristics that defined former Southern Wayne and Wayne County American Legion standout, the late Josh Brinkley, who's memory was honored at Post 11's home contest on Sunday with Snow Hill.
For the second straight game, Wayne County posted a surge of its own in its final at bat -- this time coming away with a 4-2 win over Post 94 in an Area One East contest at Scarborough Field.
Facing Snow Hill reliever Chip Wall in the bottom of the eighth, Post 11's Airlon Vinson singled to score Jackson Massey to tie the game, before Matthew Holloman's sacrifice fly brought home Jes Snyder to give Wayne County a 3-2 lead.
Massey walked to start the inning, while Snyder reached on a one-out, infield error after a sacrifice bunt by Jesse Lancaster. Vinson later raced home on a wild pitch for the game's final run.
Wayne County improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Area One East play. Snow Hill is 2-3 overall and in the league.
"We had a chance early in the New Bern game to put some runs up, but we didn't," Wayne County coach Brad Reaves said. "Most of these kids are 1-through-4 hitters in high school, but they have to understand this is a different level of baseball.
"At this level they are going to have to give themselves up like Jesse did, and it makes things happen."
Neither Post 11 starter Grant Sasser nor Snow Hill starter Blake Taylor figured in the decision, but both were consistent and worked fast in the early-season, league game.
In six innings of work, Sasser mixed his pitches well and was especially sharp with his breaking ball. The Charles B. Aycock left-hander yielded just one run on six hits with 10 strikeouts against no walks.
Stretching through the end of the first through the completion of the top of the third, Sasser struck out six of seven batters. He finished with 61 strikes out of his 83 pitches thrown.
"He's got great composure. He had runners on third twice, and he doesn't get rattled," Reaves said. "I still want him to trust his fastball a little more."
Garrett Davis (2-0), who picked up the win in two innings of relief, and Michael Sigmon, who got the save, combined for five strikeouts as the Post 11 trio fanned 15 on the game -- 1/3 of their teams' season total through six games.
Behind the three pitchers, Wayne County played errorless defense.
"I knew coming in this was going to be one of the best defensive clubs we've had in a long time," Reaves said. "Coach (Doyle) Whitfield had some good ones, but we are going to show some leather. We're as good in the infield and outfield as we've been in a long time."
Taylor struck out only four for Snow Hill, but he was equally efficient. The Greene Central righty tossed just 75 pitches in seven innings with 51going for strikes. He also had no walks, gave up six hits and allowed only one run.
"Blake did a super job. This was a very good Legion game. It was quick ... two hours," Snow Hill coach James "Rabbit" Fulghum said. "We didn't make a good play in the eighth, but that's part of the game."
Wayne County struck for its first and only run against Taylor in the fifth as Joey Moye, who finished with two hits, started the inning with a single to right. With Moye on second after a ground out by Bennett Jeffreys, Garrett Sutton slapped another base hit to right as Moye beat the throw home from the right fielder.
Post 94 equalized against Sasser in the top of the sixth when Brandon Brown slugged his second double of the game into the left-center field gap -- plating Hunter Chase, who reached on a one-out double to right center.
Snow Hill, which dropped a 6-5 decision to Edenton on Saturday, got its final run one inning later as Davis issued a two-out walk to Wall, then tossed a wild pitch moving Wall up to second. Lance Murray came through with an opposite-field single to right to plate Wall and gave Snow Hill a 2-1 lead.
Jeffreys provided a single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, while Austin Hood and Holloman also had one hit each for Wayne County.
Both teams take to the road on Tuesday as Wayne County travels to Wilson, while Snow Hill takes on Rocky Mount.
Notes: Before the game, Holloman, a Southern Wayne graduate, was presented with the Josh Brinkley Memorial Scholarship ... Several players from Farmville Central's Class 1-A State Championship team will join Snow Hill for Tuesday's game at Rocky Mount ... Wayne County is currently hitting .273 as a team and its opposition is hitting .244.
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