05/09/06 — Warriors advance in ECC tourney

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Warriors advance in ECC tourney

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on May 9, 2006 2:19 PM

Eastern Wayne sophomore Michael Mintz struck out 11 and gave up just two hits in six innings of work as the Warriors claimed an 11-1 win at home over Wilson Beddingfield in the first round of the inaugural Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament on Monday.

Eastern Wayne scored four in the sixth, and the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule.

The third-seeded Warriors (12-13 overall) advanced to the semifinals of the tournament and will take on No. 2 Southern Wayne, the ECC's regular season co-champion, tonight at 7 p.m. in Dudley. Eastern Wayne has to win the league tourney to advance to the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

"This is a cut-throat thing for us. We win, we're still alive ... we don't, we're done and the boys responded. They are excited about going to Southern Wayne tomorrow," Warriors' coach Jabo Fulghum said. "We're going to take a run at it."

Beddingfield finished the season at 3-20 overall.

"We didn't hit the ball well all year and we've been striking out a lot. You aren't going to produce many runs when you strike out 11 times," Bruins' coach Jody O'Neal said.

Mintz cruised through the first 32/3 innings -- fanning seven of the first 11 batters he faced. The right-hander consistently worked ahead in the count, but when he did get behind, managed to battle back with a mixture of pitches.

The Bruins tallied their only run in the top of the fourth when Marqui Ransome brought home Bennett Johnson, who reached on an infield single and stole second, with a two-out RBI single to center.

From there, Mintz (5-1) retired the final seven batters and got errorless play by his defense. In the top of the sixth, Warrior third baseman John Wooten robbed Chris Jones of a hit. Wooten made a diving stab to his right, then tossed across to first baseman Taylor Sutton, who made a nice pick on the low throw.

"I wasn't really scared to throw strikes, because I knew I had my defense behind me," Mintz said. "I knew they would make the plays, so I just threw it in there."

With Beddingfield lefty Levi Holloman on the mound, the Warriors managed just one run on two hits in the first three innings and had a couple of base-running blunders to hinder a pair of scoring opportunities.

After the Bruins got their lone run, Eastern Wayne answered with six in the bottom of the fourth on three hits. Mintz, Chris Brown and Sutton had run-scoring hits in the inning, while Tyler Ham and Joey Burridge plated runs with RBI groundouts.

The Warriors, who went up 7-1 improved on the bases in the fourth -- stealing two bags and taking advantage of two passed balls and one wild pitch.

Marqui Ransome tossed a perfect fifth in relief for Beddingfield, before the Warriors' four-run sixth put the game away. Ham, who finished with two hits and four RBIs, keyed the rally with a two-run single.

After an error allowed Joey Moye to score, Chad Sutton brought home Ham for the game-winning run with a grounder to short.

No. 4 Wilson Hunt defeated fifth-seeded Kinston, 11-5 in the other semifinal and will travel to No. 1 Charles B. Aycock tonight at 7 p.m.

2006 Class 3-A

Eastern Carolina Conference Tournament

First round

(at Eastern Wayne HS)

Beddingfield 000 100 -- 1 2 2

E. Wayne 100 604 -- 11 6 0

Leading hitters -- Beddingfield -- Marqui Ransome 1-2, RBI; Bennett Johnson 1-2, run. Eastern Wayne -- Tyler Ham 2-3, 2B, 4 RBIs; Joey Moye 1-2, 2B, 3 runs; Taylor Sutton 1-4, 2B, RBI; Michael Mintz 1-3, 2B, RBI; Chris Brown 1-2, RBI, 2 runs.



L. Holloman (L) 4 5 7 7 5 3

M. Ransome 2 1 4 2 2 1

Eastern Wayne

M. Mintz (W, 5-1) 6 2 1 1 0 11