Playoff road ends for Post 11
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 8, 2005 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- The Area I East Division title is up for grabs.
Wilson Post 13 dethroned defending champion Wayne County Post 11 with yet another come-from-behind victory Thursday evening in their first-round series. Two seventh-inning errors allowed Post 13 to seize momentum and the best-of-three series 7-4 on the Scarborough Field diamond.
Wayne County (17-10) lost an opening-round series for the first time since 1989 and just its second playoff series to Wilson since 1993. Wilson (15-10) knocked off Post 11 for the third time in five days and avenged a sweep in last year's Area I East championship series.
Post 13 entertains No. 7 seed New Bern in semifinal-round play beginning Sunday at Fleming Stadium. In the top half of the bracket, No. 1 seed Pitt County 39 awaits the Kinston-Snow Hill series winner.
Errors and offensive futility plagued Post 11 in the series.
"You can't win a series committing 10 errors and you can't win it when don't score but six runs, either," said third-year Wayne County coach Brad Reaves. "I think we probably transferred our plate appearances to the field. It seemed like everything that bounced up, bounced in their gloves; and everything that bounced up, bounced out of our gloves.
"Dadgum, that second baseman (Thomas Edmondson) didn't miss one. Their outfielders didn't miss anything."
Edmondson, a graduate of SouthWest Edgecombe, came up with three diving grabs that robbed Post 11 of potential base hits. Edmondson finished with three putouts and three assists for a Post 13 defense that committed two errors which never proved critical.
Starting pitcher John Webb, a soft-throwing left-hander, yielded four runs (three earned) on six hits in the first three innings. But Wayne County, as has been customary most of the season, shut down offensively from that point.
Post 11 hitters became passive at the plate and timid with two strikes in the count. Webb allowed a lead-off single in the sixth, but benefited from an inning-ending double play.
Right-handed reliever Brent Godwin, who shut out Post 11 on Sunday, provided three innings of one-hit, three-strikeout relief. He earned the win and gave Post 13 just its fourth postseason victory against Wayne County since 1993.
Wayne County had 14 baserunners, including 10 in the first three innings combined. Post 11 stranded five runners in scoring position.
"Our kids just would not make an adjustment in this series," said Reaves. "Their pitchers did exactly what their pitching coach asked them to do. We were a team that was so afraid that we were going to get beat inside, we were not willing to get jammed.
"I kept telling them let's go to right field no matter what he throws. That left-hander wasn't throwing 74 miles an hour ... couldn't have been. The right-hander was no different ... probably his best was 82 or 83."
Wilson put 13 balls in play with two strikes that resulted in either a hit, an error or a flyout.
Post 11's late-inning collapse started in the seventh. Reliever Brandon Price appeared to escape a bases-loaded jam until David Powell hit a high chopper to third baseman Matthew Holloman. Holloman misplayed the grounder which bounced into right field and allowed Post 13 to reclaim the lead at 5-4.
The defensive troubles continued in the eighth.
Price, again, looked as if he'd escape unscathed when Kendall Smith lofted a fly ball into shallow right center field. Post 11 second baseman Jesse Lancaster back-pedaled toward the ball while right fielder Joey Moye charged toward it.
At the last second, Lancaster pulled back off the play and Moye dove to catch the ball. However, it popped out of his glove and Wilson collected two more runs, which gave Godwin more than enough breathing room.
"Our kids didn't make the plays," said Reaves, whose team gave up 11 unearned runs in the series.
After falling behind 2-0, Wayne County fought back for a 4-2 advantage in the third. A walk to Lancaster and intentional free pass to Jes Snyder set the table for Austin Hood, who batted in the clean-up spot.
A rising senior at Southern Wayne, Hood connected on a one-strike single to score Lancaster. Snyder trotted home on Airlon Vinson's fielder's choice groundout. Hood faced a similar situation in the seventh, but flied out to center field to end the inning.
Hood, Bennett Jeffreys and Jackson Massey each provided two hits for Post 11. Lancaster and Garrett Sutton finished with one hit each for Wayne County, which suffered its first 10-loss season since 2001.
Garrett Davis, who survived a shaky first inning, earned a no decision in his 11th appearance of the season. The right-hander scattered six hits in a six-inning stint and retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced before Price (2-2) entered the game.
The season-ending defeat was Wayne County's eighth in its last 11 outings over a 13-day period.
"We filled up days with ball games when other teams are just playing their conference schedule and practicing in between, and maybe that's what we need to do," Reaves said. "This season is on me. I blew this season."
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