07/13/06 — Big fifth inning boosts Wayne Juniors

View Archive

Big fifth inning boosts Wayne Juniors

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 13, 2006 2:22 PM

DUDLEY -- The fifth inning has played a key role in the outcome of back-to-back games for Wayne County's Junior Legion team.

A tough fifth inning in the field hindered Post 11 in taking Game 1 of the second round on Tuesday at Northern Nash.

Facing elimination, Wayne redeemed itself on Wednesday in Game 2 against Roanoke Rapids -- erupting for six runs on six-straight hits in the fifth to pull away for an 8-1 win on a steamy evening at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.

The victory sends Wayne (16-5) back to Northern Nash today with a berth in this weekend's Eastern N.C. Tournament -- hosted by West Johnston and South Johnston High School -- at stake. Pitt County-South Central qualified for the Eastern tourney with an extra-innings win over Northern Nash on Wednesday.

Nolan Lancaster, who had four hits and saw just six pitches, keyed the outburst with a bases-clearing double to right-centerfield, while Tyler Wicks and Scott Holloman drove in one run each. Garrett Barfield posted a double to start the fifth as Byron Powell contributed an infield single and Ryan Ford bunted for a hit.

"Hitting is contagious ... if one person gets a hit, the next one does," Lancaster said. "They wouldn't throw me a curveball, and I can't hit one of those. But, if they throw me a fastball I'm going to hit it. I felt good tonight."

The sixth run of the inning came across when Holloman scored on a throwing error by the Roanoke Rapids catcher on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Jackson Frederick -- pushing the score to the final margin. Wayne finished with 13 hits by eight different players.

All of the runs in the fifth came against Nick Short, who relieved starter Jacob Dixon in the third inning.

"It's been a few games since our bats came alive, and there in the fifth we got a few guys on and played a little small ball," said Cunningham, who's team is 2-0 in elimination games this postseason. "I think Ford's bunt gave us some momentum. When you do the small things and execute those, things open up for you."

Wayne tallied its first two runs in the second against Dixon as Frederick posted an RBI single to score Ford, then dashed to second on the throw home. Alertly, Lancaster raced home from third when Roanoke catcher Seth Wright tried to get Frederick -- making it 2-0.

The run support proved to be more than enough for Wayne right-handed starter Cody Richards. The rising sophomore from Rosewood yielded just one run, which was unearned, on seven hits during a complete-game effort.

Richards, who finished with six strikeouts and only one walk, proved especially tough with runners on base in the early going as Roanoke Rapids (20-8) stranded five in the second and third innings combined. With the bases loaded in the second, Richards turned in a nice defensive gem to end the threat -- hustling over to cover first to just beat Wright to the bag on a grounder to the first baseman, Holloman.

In the third, Justin Blue doubled to center to set up second-and-third with one out, but Richards got out of the jam with a pop-up to second and a fly-out to center.

"He's been one of our best all year. He's always going to work ahead and throw strikes with his fastball and curveball," Cunningham said. "He's tough once guys get on base. He came out and threw well on four-days rest."

Wayne committed five errors, one lead to the visitors lone run in the fifth as Short scored from third on a wide throw to first by the second baseman trying to get Blue on an infield grounder. Post 11 overcame the rest of its miscues and turned in a handful of stout defensive plays -- including an unassisted double play by Ford, who snagged a tough liner at shortstop and tagged second, to end the game.

Roanoke 000 010 0 -- 1 7 2

Wayne 020 060 x -- 8 13 5

Leading hitters -- Roanoke Rapids -- Nick Short 1-4, 2B, run; Justin Blue 2-4, 2B. Wayne County -- Nolan Lancaster 4-4, 2B, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Garrett Barfield 1-3, 2B; Byron Powell 2-4, run; Tyler Wicks 2-4, RBI, run; Ryan Ford 2-2, 2 runs; Scott Holloman 1-4, RBI, run; Jackson Frederick 1-3, RBI; Alex Casey 1-2.



J. Dixon (L) 2 3 2 2 3 1

N. Short 4 10 6 5 3 3

Wayne County

C. Richards (W) 7 7 1 0 1 6