07/01/05 — Post 11 squanders scoring chances, falls in Area I East play

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Post 11 squanders scoring chances, falls in Area I East play

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 1, 2005 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- An unexpected two-day layoff should have given Wayne County Post 11 a chance to refocus -- especially offensively -- heading into the final weekend of regular-season play.

But Post 11 continued to look lethargic at the plate Thursday evening against Beaufort Post 15. Wayne County squandered several scoring opportunities and paid the price -- a 5-4 loss in Area I East Division play.

"Same story, different night," said Post 11 coach Brad Reaves.

"You're not going to win many Legion baseball games getting six hits."

Jes Snyder accounted for half of Wayne County's offense -- three hits and two runs. The Region X player of the year on the junior college scene, Snyder belted a two-run home run in the first inning and an added an RBI double in the fifth.

Jackson Massey provided a lead-off single in the first and scored. Matthew Holloman added a fourth-inning single, while Bennett Jeffreys reached on an infield blooper in the eighth.

Wayne County had 15 base runners and left nine stranded with four in scoring position.

"We swing at pitches out of the strike zone," Reaves said. "Our team right now is a pitcher's dream. We let good pitches go by and we swing at ...

"I don't know who told them they could hit baseballs above their hands, but if it's coming 80 miles an hour, it's going to be tough to catch up with it above your hands. We're not going to do it."

Post 11 batted 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and failed to push the game-tying run across in each of the sixth and seventh innings. The seventh proved more crucial as Wayne County put runners on first and second with no outs.

Relief pitcher Aaron Mobley forced a pop-up in foul territory for the first out. Post 11's Airlon Vinson, currently in a 1-for-19 slump, hit a hard grounder to shortstop for the second out.

"Airlon had a good at-bat," Reaves said. "If that ball is just a couple of feet the other way, that ball gets through."

Reaves decided to gamble at that point. With Jesse Lancaster on third and Snyder on second, Reaves called for a steal. Mobley never flinched in his delivery toward home plate and Kevin Boyd tagged out Lancaster to end Post 11's final scoring threat of the night.

"We had them if we had broken a little earlier," Reaves said. "He never looked over here ... ever. The way we were swinging it, we had to take a chance of some kind. It was there, but we just didn't break in time."

Mobley earned the victory for starter Patrick Williams, who received a no decision despite five-plus innings of solid work. The duo combined for six walks, one wild pitch, one hit batter and four strikeouts.

Williams tied the game at 3-3 with a three-run home run off Post 11 left-hander Grant Sasser in the fourth. It was the sixth home run allowed by the Wayne County staff this season.

"He hung a slider," Reaves said. "That's what happens when you throw a slider and a curveball. Sooner or later, the two are going to mix ... it's not going to slide and it's not going to curve."

An infield error allowed Beaufort to forge a 4-4 tie in the sixth. Travis Rogerson delivered the game-winning hit, a two-out single, in the eighth off Post 11 reliever Matthew Holloman (0-1).

Beaufort collected its first-ever sweep of Post 11, which leads the all-time series 15-4. Wayne County endured its third defeat in its last four outings and dropped to 4-3 in contests decided by two runs or less.

Post 15 became just the fourth division team to defeat Post 11 at home since 2002 -- the team's first season at Scarborough Field. Despite the frustrating loss, Wayne County remained one-half game behind league leader Pitt County 39 in the standings.

"We're just not playing with much emotion," Reaves said. "You would almost think that in the Wilson game (a 19-15 win) we used up all of the emotion that we had. You would think our emotion was gone because we don't have any.

"I don't think one player can get us going. They're going to have to decide if they want to salvage this and make a run in the playoffs. Or do they want to take the rest of the summer off, and get ready to go back to school."

Garrett Davis (1-0, 0.98 ERA) is scheduled to start on the mound today against nemesis Snow Hill. Post 11 won the regular-season meeting 4-2, but Snow Hill avenged the loss in the Wayne County Invitational with a 2-0 triumph.

Game time is 7 p.m.