03/24/06 — Defense, hitting let down Chargers

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Defense, hitting let down Chargers

Published in Sports on March 24, 2006 1:47 PM

Wayne Country Day pitchers need a little help from their friends.

Trent Langston hurled a complete game for the Chargers, striking out five and surrendering only just hits. But four Wayne Country Day errors allowed visiting Greenfield Academy to escape with a 4-1 victory in a Coastal Plains Independent Conference game Thursday afternoon.

The Chargers also struggled at the plate -- mustering just three hits -- as Wayne Country Day fell to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the conference. Wayne Country Day will try and pick up their first conference win Saturday as they host Wayne Christian Academy.

Wayne Country Day head baseball coach Michael Taylor knows what his team must do to turn the corner.

"My pitchers are doing a great job right now," he said. "Defensively, we have a lot of work to do -- we have to start with the fundamentals."

Greenfield right-hander Tyler Fowler flirted with a perfect game until the fourth inning and out-dueled Langston, giving up only three hits, and his defense didn't make an error until the seventh and final inning.

"He (Fowler) got ahead of his counts and got his pitches across the plate and kept us off balance," said Taylor.

The opportunistic Knights scored twice in the second inning. After one out, Collin Haggerty singled and moved to second on a balk. John Dandanell's single to left scored Haggerty with the game's first run. Dandanell then stole second and scored on a two-out error.

Greenfield picked up two more runs in the fourth on two hits, a stolen base, wild pitch, and an error.

The Knights' big hit of the inning was the game's only extra-base hit, a two-out double by leadoff hitter Chris Tripp.

Fowler retired the first 11 Charger batters he faced until Ryan Ford's two-out single in the fourth gave Wayne Country Day their first baserunner.

Kevin Herring led off the fifth for the Chargers with another single. Langston then hit a shot in the gap between right and center field. Aaron Suggs, the Knights' right fielder, made a running one handed catch and threw a perfect strike to first base to complete a double play before the runner could get back.

Wayne Country Day continued to try and peck its way back into the game in the sixth inning. Fowler struck out the first batter, but then hit Joseph Cha with a pitch. Cameron Ford followed with a single to center, giving the Chargers runners on first and second with only one out. Greenfield got out of the jam with a double play ground ball to the shortstop.

The Chargers finally put a run on the board in the seventh. Ryan Ford walked to open the inning and moved over to third on a passed ball and fielder's choice. With two outs, Langston hit a sharp grounder that bounced off the Knights' third baseman's glove to score Ford. Fowler got the last out on a ground ball to secure the win.

"Trent pitched a great game. We have a great group -- we just have to come to practice tomorrow and try to get better," said Taylor.

Greenfield first-year head coach Daniel Johnson was happy his team found a way to win.

"Tyler did an outstanding job on the mound and we made some timely defensive plays," he said. "I told our team to throw the ball across the plate and make the routine plays. Today, they did that.

"We didn't swing the bat well, but we took advantage of a few misfortunes they had."

Greenfield improved their conference record to 2-0 and will travel to play No. 1-ranked Lawrence Academy today.

Greenfield 020 200 0 -- 4 8 1

WCDS 000 000 1 -- 1 3 4

Leading hitters -- Greenfield -- John Dandanell 2-2, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Chris Tripp 1-4, 2B, RBI; Collin Haggerty 1-3, 2 runs; Tyler Fowler 2-4. WCDS -- Cameron Ford 1-3, Ryan Ford 1-3, run, Kevin Herring 1-3.

IP H R ER BB SO Greenfield

T. Fowler (W) 7 3 1 0 2 6


T. Langston (L) 7 8 4 3 2 5