Bring on Wilson
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 6, 2005 1:47 PM
KINSTON -- Wayne County's Senior American Legion make-up game on Tuesday at Kinston figured to have some bearing on the Area I East standings and playoff pairings with Post 11 and Beaufort County seemingly still battling for the second spot and home field for the first two rounds.
By determining the postseason brackets on Tuesday afternoon -- before the final games had been played -- Area I American Legion officials rendered the Wayne County-Kinston and Beaufort-Snow Hill contests practically meaningless.
However, Post 11 performed like it had plenty to play for in the late innings in an 8-6 win at Kinston High School.
Trailing 6-3 in the top of the sixth, Kinston pitchers Josh Tindal and Brick Crowder combined for four walks and one hit batter, accounting for two Post 11 runs to cut the deficit to one.
Facing Crowder, Wayne County's Matthew Holloman and Austin Hood posted two-out, run scoring hits to push across three more runs. Holloman singled home Bennett Jeffreys, while Hood doubled in Jackson Massey and Airlon Vinson, who both walked with the bases loaded.
Garrett Davis, who started the inning with a walk, and Brady Wiggins, who was hit by a pitch, also scored in the sixth.
"It was good to see us get some two-out hits. We punched-out twice early in the game with people in scoring position," Wayne County coach Brad Reaves said. "We had two very aggressive swings with two outs that inning."
Vinson, who also had an RBI single to cap a three-run third, ended a four-run Kinston rally in the fifth and went on to pick up the win in three innings of shutout relief. Vinson, the fourth pitcher used by Post 11, gave up just one hit during his stint.
"It feels good to give these guys a break and get back on the mound again," said Vinson, who had appeared in less than nine innings before Tuesday.
Wayne County (17-8, 12-6), nabbing the third-spot, moves on to the Area I East Division playoffs and will travel to sixth-place Wilson today at 7 p.m. for the first game in a best-of-three series.
Wilson will host the first game of the series due to its inability to secure a field for the second game Thursday. Games two and three (if necessary) will be played at Mount Olive's Scarborough Field.
"I think it will be a very competitive series. I'm looking forward to see what our guys do in this situation," Wayne County coach Brad Reaves said.. "There's some competitive blood in there. I'm wanting to see us play competitive baseball no matter who we play."
Fourth-place Post 43 (11-8 Area I East) will open its series at home today against Snow Hill. Kinston used seven pitchers with the first three -- Paul Novicki, Josh Kennedy and Richard Nobles -- keeping Wayne County off the scoreboard for the first three innings.
Despite yielding a lead-off single to Vinson, Andrew Davis added a scoreless fourth on the mound as his teammate David Curington staked him to a 2-0 lead with a home run to center field to start the bottom of the inning. Curington added two doubles and a single, finishing with three RBI.
Wayne County stranded nine runners total, five coming in the first four innings.
Post 11 came alive in the fifth with three runs (two earned) with Jes Snyder doubling and later scoring on an error and Vinson adding a single to make it 3-2.
Kinston grabbed the lead back in the fifth as Wayne County pitchers Adam Williams and T.J. Hinson failed to get an out with Ashley Mills and Curington posting two-RBI doubles to put Post 43 up by three.
"We got behind and got in hitters counts and stayed in hitters counts. It's not hard to hit like that," Reaves said.
Vinson inherited Curington on second, but induced two fly outs and snagged a hard grounder back to the mound to get Cody Fordham to end the fifth, before finishing out the game.
Notes: Post 11 and Post 13 split their two regular-season meetings, each winning on the road by four runs, but in vastly different fashions ... Wayne County won a wild, 19-15 struggle at Fleming Stadium, before Wilson handed Post 11 a 4-0 defeat at Mount Olive last Sunday. Wayne County swept the season-series with Kinston and is now 8-4 on the road in 2005.
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