03/16/06 — EW falls to Rose

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EW falls to Rose

By Dan Friedell
Published in Sports on March 16, 2006 2:43 PM

Eastern Wayne's offense showed up against Greenville's Rose High on Wednesday.

The only problem was that the Warriors (1-5) were down 11-3 in the bottom of the seventh when it happened.

Using just one hit, the Warriors tallied four runs before Rose (5-0) reliever Josh Aldridge could record the inning's second out. But with Walker Gorely on second and John Wooten on first, Aldridge, the Rampants' starting third baseman, recovered to strikeout Chris Brown and induce a pop-out from Jackson Frederick to end the game and escape Wayne County with an 11-7 triumph.

"We got down 11-3 and came back and made a ballgame of it," said Eastern Wayne coach Jabo Fulghum. "You've got to learn how to fight back, and we did fight back today."

As the game got under way, one of the Rose fans who made the 40-mile trip said that if it weren't for the strong wind, it would have been perfect weather for a mid-March game.

It was a prescient remark.

When starters Tyler Ham (Eastern Wayne) and Mark Wilder were nearly perfect in the first two innings, it looked as if the teams might be on their way to a game reminiscent of last year's 2-1, extra-inning Rose victory on the road.

But the wind came into play in the top of the third.

A single, hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases for Aldridge, who lofted a towering fly ball into left-center. Centerfielder Joey Moye and leftfielder Frederick converged on the ball near the warning track. They both thought it was a homerun when it left the bat.

"It looked like it was going to hit that water tower (on the horizon), I'll tell you that," said Rampants' rightfielder Josh Ashton, who was on first base.

But a stiff wind pushed the ball back into play, and Frederick reached the ball just as he banged into the fence 330 feet from home plate.

Frederick said he never had control of the ball before it fell to the ground.

All three runners scored as Moye recovered the ball and held Aldridge to a double.

"Jackson made a good attempt," Moye said. "But me being the centerfielder, I should have caught that."

"The wind was really a factor in the game," said veteran Rose coach Ron Vincent. "It was right in the hitter's face, which slows your bat down."

The Warriors cut the Rose lead to one in the fourth on a bizarre play that began with a sacrifice bunt by Michael Mintz with runners on first and second.

Wilder fielded the bunt cleanly, but threw the ball over the head of first baseman Croft Massey. Ashton came in from right to back up the throw, but the ball got past him and went out of play. The double error resulted in two runs, as Taylor Sutton and Nolan Lancaster came around to score.

Playing without injured all-conference shortstop Ryan Graepel, the Rampants committed three errors in the inning, but came back with seven unanswered runs over the next two frames. The outburst was highlighted by Ashton's three-run homer, which came just as the wind calmed in the fifth. Vincent said Graepel is hoping to return in April.

Ham got the next two outs to end the inning, but he was done for the day.

"Tyler threw the ball good at times today," Fulghum said. "But he left a fastball in a couple times."

After the game, Fulghum lamented three defensive breakdowns which helped Rose to six of its runs. But he did find a bright spot.

"We got better today in some areas," he said. "We were tougher at the plate and did a good job today with two strikes."

But Fulghum said he wants his team exhibit more patience offensively.

"Sometimes you try to get it all back in one swing. When you're young, that happens."

Vincent saw the potential in Fulghum's young team, which includes two freshmen and three sophomores in its starting lineup.

"They scrapped right with us to the end," he said. "They always play well against us."

Rose 003 034 1 -- 11 8 6

Eastern Wayne 000 201 4 -- 7 7 3

Leading hitters -- Rose -- Josh Ashton 1-2, HR, 3RBI, 2 runs; Josh Aldridge 2-4, double, 2RBI; Matt Board 1-2, 3 runs; Ross Warren 2-3, run. Eastern Wayne -- Tyler Ham 3 walks, run; Nolan Lancaster 2-3, 3 runs; John Wooten 1-4, double, RBI.



Mark Wilder (W) 4 3 2 0 1 2

Mark Lindsay 1 1 0 0 1 0

Andrew Pair 1 2 1 1 1 1

Josh Aldridge 1 1 4 2 3 2

Eastern Wayne

Tyler Ham (L) 5 4 6 6 4 4

Chad Sutton 2 4 5 4 3 3