05/14/06 — Wayne Christian avenges regular-season loss to Hobgood

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Wayne Christian avenges regular-season loss to Hobgood

Published in Sports on May 14, 2006 2:19 AM

Wayne Christian School advanced to the second round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A baseball playoffs with a 15-5 win over Hobgood Academy Friday Afternoon.

The Eagles' win avenged a 5-2 road loss earlier in the season to the Raiders. No. 7 Wayne Christian will travel to Whiteville Tuesday for a quarterfinal game with second-seeded Waccamaw Academy. The winner will earn a trip to the final four at Fleming Stadium in Wilson.

The Eagles jumped ahead early by scoring six runs in the first inning. They batted around again in the fifth -- adding six more runs, causing the game to be stopped due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Wayne Christian (16-3) had six hits in the first inning as Jordan Yelverton and Billy Smith cranked out back-to-back doubles. Jeremy Jefferson and Andrew Bass followed with singles -- giving WCS four hits with no outs. Tyler Brannan and Adam Brannan's RBI singles scored two more and the Eagles were ahead 6-0 after just one inning of play.

"We are a good hitting team, but we haven't showed it at times this season," Eagles' coach Tim Brannan said. "Yesterday we had our best hitting practice of the year, and it carried over to the game."

Lefty Tyler Thomas picked up the win for the Eagles -- working four innings, striking out four and giving up only two earned runs. After a Raider lead-off double in the fifth, Adam Brannan came on in relief for Wayne Christian. The hard-throwing right-hander shut down the Raiders by retiring the only three batters he faced.

"We don't have an ace on our staff," said coach Brannan. "We use Tyler and Adam as our 1-2 punch. Tyler throws a lot of breaking balls, and Adam throws strikes, which is always good in late innings."

The Eagles were comfortably ahead 7-0 after three innings, before Hobgood cut into the lead by scoring five times in the top of the fourth. The Raiders had four hits and three runners scored on a throwing error after a bunt with the bases loaded.

Wayne Christian increased its lead to 9-5 with two more runs in its half of the fourth.

The Eagles also ran at will -- stealing eight bases and pulling off double steals in the first and fifth innings.

"I teach, teach and teach base running" said Brannan. "It is a very important part of baseball."

Hobgood starting pitcher Billy Thompson gave up two free passes to the Eagles to start the fifth. A double-steal allowed a fielder's choice to bring home one run for Wayne Christian.

Travis Thomas' RBI single to right scored two more runs, before Adam Whitehead came on in relief for the Raiders. Whitehead hit the first batter he faced, then Smith unloaded his second double to deep right -- scoring another run for the Eagles. With two outs, the Eagles got their last two runs to end the game on a Raider error.

Hobgood 000 50 -- 5 7 4

Wayne Christian 610 26 -- 15 9 1

Leading hitters -- Hobgood -- Cody Hale 2-3, 2B, RBI; Billy Thompson 2-3, 2B, RBI; Alex Tucker 1-3; Kevin Andrews 1-2. Wayne Christian -- Jordan Yelverton 2-3, 2B; Billy Smith 2-4, 2 2Bs, 3 RBI; Jeremy Jefferson 1-4, Andrew Bass 1-4, 4 RBI; Tyler Brannan 1-2, RBI; Adam Brannan 1-2, RBI: Travis Thomas 1-2, 2 RBI.



Thompson (L) 4 1/3 8 13 9 4 4

Whitehead 1/3 1 2 0 1 1

Wayne Christian

Thomas (W) 4 7 5 2 1 4

A. Brannan 1 0 0 0 0 1