By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 26, 2005 2:01 AM
Snow Hill suffers third consecutive loss in Area I East Division action.
SNOW HILL -- As a player or coach, Rusty Dail couldn't remember the last time a Wilson Post 13 squad manhandled Snow Hill Post 94 on its home diamond.
He soon won't forget Friday's game.
Left-hander John Webb, added to the roster before the June 23 cut date, turned in a complete-game performance as Post 13 claimed a 10-2 decision at the James R. Fulghum Athletic Complex. Webb yielded six hits in the nine-inning affair and became the first Wilson pitcher to throw a complete game this season.
Heading into the final two weeks of regular-season play, Dail knew he needed to bolster his bullpen -- a commodity necessary in the postseason. He didn't see Webb, a Tarboro High graduate play in person, so he invited him to a tryout.
Webb impressed Dail with his control, especially his off-speed pitches.
"We liked what we saw," Dail said.
Snow Hill certainly didn't.
Webb baffled Post 94 hitters with a slow knuckleball, but that wasn't the only weapon in his arsenal. He also utilized a variety of off-speed pitches and handcuffed Snow Hill, which has scored just five runs total in its last three contests combined.
It was just Webb's second outing of the season.
"The first game, my arm was hurting a little bit, but it was a whole lot better this time," said Webb, whose first mound appearance occurred June 14 against Wayne County Post 11. "My best pitch (tonight) was the change-up ... live and die by it. I just placed it."
Webb surrendered just one hit the final four innings and received solid defensive support. The middle infield of shortstop Tanner Eason and Thomas Edmundson combined for 11 putouts and five assists.
First baseman Lee Hawkins collected six putouts.
"(In Legion ball), it's a better defense and better batters, too," Webb said.
Snow Hill (9-6, 6-6 Area I East) suffered its second consecutive loss at home and third straight overall.
While Webb turned in undoubtedly his best effort, Post 94 starting pitcher Drew Sowers -- uncharacteristically -- struggled on the mound. Sowers' fired a strike on his first pitch to lead-off batter Matt Robbins and then threw a mind-boggling 12 consecutive balls.
The inconsistency led to three walks and a six-run first inning for Post 13. The offensive eruption helped ease Webb's nerves, but it forced the Post 94 bullpen to go to work earlier than expected.
"Our pitching has been great all year, but that's the first time we've bottomed out," veteran Post 94 coach James "Rabbit" Fulghum said.
Sowers recorded the first two outs of the second inning before walking one batter and giving up two hits -- an RBI double to Hawkins and an RBI single to Alan Corbett. Left-hander Travis Rouse relieved Sowers and limited Post 13 to one run on six hits in five-plus innings.
Tommy Cobb provided two innings of one-hit relief.
"Rouse come in and did a good job," Fulghum said. "Tommy Cobb, that's the second time he's thrown in two years. I was scared we would bottom out early because we've got so many games and we can't use all of our pitching."
Fulghum commended Wilson Post 13 for its aggressiveness at the plate and opportunistic play, but lamented his team's intensity. Snow Hill never gained any momentum against Webb despite gathering five hits and putting 10 runners aboard in the first five innings.
Cobb's sacrifice flyout and Brandon Brown's RBI single accounted for Post 94's run production. Brown finished with two hits in three at-bats. Cobb, Rouse, Hunter Chase and Jordan Scott contributed one hit apiece.
Wilson pounded out 12 hits. Barton signee Justin Batts finished 4-for-4, while Corbett ended up 4-for-5. The duo combined for just two extra-base hits and four RBI.
"We got the big hits with runners on base and that broke it open a little bit," Dail said. "I think John felt a little more comfortable up there on the mound with the lead, so that helped tremendously. But I never felt comfortable with the lead.
"In fact, I wasn't comfortable until John got the last out."
Wilson (10-5, 7-5) continues play at home today with a doubleheader against Beaufort Post 15. Meanwhile, Snow Hill is the guest of Pitt County 39 at Guy Smith Park in Greenville.
Both games begin at 7 p.m.
Notes: Post 94 first baseman Blake Taylor recorded a game-high 16 putouts. ... Middle infielders John Allen Conway (SS) and Chase (2B) combined for four putouts and 11 assists. ... Snow Hill had 17 assists on defense, while Wilson had seven. ... The teams meet again July 4 at historic Fleming Stadium.
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