03/28/06 — Langston nearly perfect for Saints

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Langston nearly perfect for Saints

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 28, 2006 2:01 PM

DUDLEY -- Working his way back from shoulder surgery last year, Southern Wayne right-hander Ashton Langston admits he is not quite 100 percent.

He certainly looked like it on Monday at home against Eastern Wayne.

In fact, he was nearly perfect in the Saints' 8-1 win in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener for both teams.

The 6-foot-5 senior carried a perfect game into the top of the seventh -- setting down 19 straight on a limited pitch count -- before the Warriors' Joey Moye ended Langston's bid for perfection with a one-out double down the left field line.

Moye eventually scored on an infield error as the righty's only run allowed proved to be unearned.

Langston, who tossed just 62 pitches, had only two strikeouts, but yielded no walks and induced 14 ground outs. After arguably the best outing of his varsity career, he was quick to praise his defense, which turned in near flawless play.

"I just served it up and let my defense work behind me. I didn't do anything great. I just kept the ball low in the zone," Langston said. "It helps a lot to know that I can come out here and produce for my team. I'm not 100 percent, but I feel pretty close."

Southern Wayne third baseman Dave Overman and shortstop Austin Hood had four assists each, while Brady Wiggins had three assists at second.

He was pretty solid with the bat, too.

After squeeze-bunting home a run in a four-run fourth for the Saints (4-5, 1-0 ECC), Langston slugged a two-run homer to left center in the fifth against Eastern Wayne starter Taylor Sutton -- capping another four-run inning to push the score to 8-0. The home run was the first of Langston's career.

Willie Koernig added a pair of two-run singles in the fourth and fifth, respectively, while Hood, Chris Massey and David Combs also reached two times each during the rallies.

Eastern Wayne (3-6, 0-1 ECC) committed two errors -- one each in the fourth and fifth -- and had one past ball as Sutton (1-3) exited the game with eight runs allowed but only three proved to be earned. The 6-2 righty struck out six and walked two, giving up six hits in five innings of work.

"They made every play and we didn't make plays," Eastern Wayne coach Jabo Fulghum said. "Taylor wasn't as sharp as he has been, but you've got to make defensive plays behind him. We've just got to bounce back quick, because we've got two more games this week."

Lefty Chad Sutton tossed a scoreless sixth for the Warriors, pitching around a double by Overman and two walks. Eastern Wayne catcher Tyler Ham helped the southpaw by picking off Overman at second for the second out of the inning.

Southern Wayne coach Trae McKee was pleased to his team put together a solid team effort after suffering a handful of recent one-run losses.

"I thought we did a good job at the plate ... doing what they were asked to do," McKee said. "We just played a good, complete ball game. It's good to start out conference on top, but we can't get ahead of ourselves."

The Saints and Warriors both have two more league games this week. Southern Wayne hosts Wilson Beddingfield today, then travels to Kinston on Friday. Eastern Wayne entertains Wilson Hunt today, before hosting Beddingfield on Friday.

Eastern Wayne 000 000 1 -- 1 1 2

Southern Wayne 000 440 x -- 8 7 1

Leading hitters -- Eastern Wayne -- Joey Moye 1-3, 2B, run. Southern Wayne -- Ashton Langston 2-2, HR, 3 RBI; Willie Koernig 2-3, 4 RBI, 2 runs.


Eastern Wayne (3-6, 0-1)

T. Sutton (L, 1-3) 5 6 8 3 2 6

C. Sutton 1 1 0 0 2 0

Southern Wayne (4-5, 1-0)

A. Langston (W, 2-0) 7 1 1 0 0 2