06/19/06 — Area I East: Wayne County snaps three-game skid

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Area I East: Wayne County snaps three-game skid

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 19, 2006 2:01 PM

SNOW HILL -- There's nothing like snapping a losing streak and beating your archrival -- all in the same night.

Mired in its second three-game slump of the season, Wayne County Post 11 ended the skid with a 9-7 conquest of Snow Hill Post 94 on Sunday evening. Right-hander John Wooten earned his first-ever Legion save and Wayne County climbed to 3-6 against Area I East opposition.

Snow Hill endured its third consecutive defeat and fell to 5-8 overall, including a 3-8 worksheet in division play.

"We've been in a streak where they didn't think they could win," said Post 11 skipper Brad Reaves, who has nine first-year Legion players on the roster. "When you've got a young group like we do that has little Legion experience, every time you get a win, it's big."

The first-year performers certainly carried their weight in Wayne County's fifth road win of the season. Wooten yielded two hits in one-plus innings and became the second pitcher to collect a save this season. Garrett Davis, who is currently on the injured list, leads the staff with two saves.

Thomas Pilkington and Will Edgerton, who made his Legion debut Saturday at Pitt County 160, each provided two hits and combined for two RBI. The duo helped spark sixth- and seventh-inning rallies which allowed Wayne County to seize the lead for good.

"We've got some freshmen who are going to be ball players," said Reaves. "Will Edgerton made some great plays out there; brings something a little different to the table.

"I don't know if he's fell in love with that DH spot but you could see on the bus all the way up here that Thomas Pilkington was locked in. We talked about hitting the other way and that's what he did."

Wayne County (5-7) avenged a pair of regular-season defeats to Snow Hill a year ago and picked up its 59th win in the program's longest-running series.

"Wayne County did some good things and we did some good things," said veteran Snow Hill coach James "Rabbit" Fulghum. "Both teams played very hard and that's a credit to two programs, who are struggling (right now)."

The 112th installment of the series didn't disappoint the sparse crowd in attendance. Post 11 rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2, and eventually seized the lead -- for good -- in the sixth inning.

David Combs produced his first two RBI of the season with a double into center field in the sixth. Edgerton capped the three-run outburst with an RBI double down the line.

Post 11 knocked Post 94 reliever Hunter Chase off the mound in the seventh. Pilkington and catcher Bennett Jeffreys each provided RBI hits, and the Post 94 defense committed a costly error which led to another run.

Wayne County led 9-3.

"Chase hasn't pitched much all year," Fulghum said. "We were trying to get an inning out of this one and an inning out of that one."

Snow Hill banged out nine hits through seven innings, but had just three runs to show for its effort. Post 94 left five runners in scoring position during that stretch.

Right-hander Ashton Langston threw three shutout innings and fanned two Post 94 batters in relief of starter Taylor Sutton. Langston retired seven of the first eight batters he faced, and benefited from a double play.

"Ashton was as good as I've seen him all year," said Reaves. "With three more innings, I felt like we were swinging (the bats) good enough that I needed to get some other kids some work.

"I needed to get him out of there because I need him the next two days. I leave him in there, and it's probably a different ball game."

Post 94 pulled within 9-7 in the eighth against relievers Tyler Ham and Wooten. Ham surrendered a lead-off home run to Richie Turner and headed to the bench five batters later.

An infield error kept Snow Hill's rally alive before Wooten induced a pop-up deep in left-field territory to end the inning. The rising sophomore at Eastern Wayne loaded the bases in the ninth before getting a game-ending ground ball from Blake Taylor.

Brandon Brown, who doubled twice in four plate appearances, waited in the on-deck circle.

"We were going to let him have that hitter (Taylor) and that was going to be it for him," said Reaves. "I don't think John Wooten feels pressure, to be honest with you. We knew he had good stuff and I thought he threw some great pitches.

"That right there will make John better."

Four Wayne County pitchers combined to give up seven earned runs on 15 hits. Brown, Taylor, Chase, Jordan Corbett and Lance Murray each turned in multiple-hit outings for Post 94.

"We were one hit away," said Fulghum.

Eight of nine Post 11 starters had at least one hit. Pilkington, Jeffreys, Edgerton and Jackson Massey each recorded two hits.

Wayne County entertains reigning Area I champion Pitt County 39 at 5 p.m. today for a doubleheader. Pitt County won the only meeting between the two teams last season.

"If we can get through the next couple of days, I think when the State Games are over, you will see a different ball club. I really do," said Reaves, whose team plays host to Rocky Mount on Tuesday.

"They don't believe they can win, but they can."

Wayne County 020 013 300 -- 9 12 1

Snow Hill 201 000 040 -- 7 15 2

Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Jackson Massey 2-4, 2B, RBI; Thomas Pilkington 2-4, RBI; Bennett Jeffreys 2-4, 2B, RBI; David Combs 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Will Edgerton 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Brady Wiggins 1-3, RBI. Snow Hill -- Hunter Chase 3-4, RBI; Brandon Brown 2-4, 2 2Bs, RBI; Tommy Cobb 2-2, RBI; Jordan Corbett 2-4, RBI; Lance Murray 3-4; Chip Wall 1-1; Drew Sowers 1-1.

DP -- Wayne County 2, Snow Hill 1. LOB -- Wayne County 5, Snow Hill 13. SH -- Taylor, Cobb, T. Chase, C. Massey, Wiggins, Overman. SB -- Hood, Brown. CS -- J. Massey.


Wayne County

Sutton 4 8 3 3 2 2

Langston (W, 2-2) 3 1 0 0 0 2

Ham 1/3 4 4 4 0 0

Wooten (S, 1) 12/3 2 0 0 2 0

Snow Hill

Bagley 5 5 3 3 0 1

H. Chase (L) 1 6 6 5 2 2

Taylor 1 0 0 0 0 1

Wall 1 1 0 0 0 1

Sowers 1 0 0 0 0 2

Chase threw two pitches to Combs in seventh.

WP -- Sutton, Wooten. HBP -- J. Massey (by Wall), Murray (by Langston), Brown (by Langston).