07/14/06 — Junior Legion Ñ Wayne Juniors move on to Eastern Tournament

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Junior Legion Ñ Wayne Juniors move on to Eastern Tournament

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on July 14, 2006 2:11 PM

ROCKY MOUNT -- If the postseason is the best time for a team to hit its stride, the Wayne County Junior Legion team's offense is peaking in impressive fashion.

Post 11 followed up a 13-hit performance on Wednesday against Roanoke Rapids with 18 hits Thursday at Northern Nash -- cruising to a 23-7 playoff-win on the road in five innings. The visitors batted around in three of the five innings.

With the victory, Post 11 advances to the eight-team Eastern N.C. Tournament this weekend -- hosted by West Johnston and South Johnston High Schools. Post 11 will begin play at 1 p.m. on Saturday against Aberdeen at West Johnston.

Wayne needs to win two games this weekend to assure a spot in the State Tournament in Cary, beginning July 21. Five of the eight eastern qualifiers make the state tourney.

Scott Holloman led the way for Wayne with four hits, including a three-run home run in the second inning before posting two doubles. Holloman drove in a whopping, eight runs and was one of six players to tally two-or-more RBIs.

"I'm hoping we can feed off of this and take this into the next round and on into the state tournament," Holloman said. "The whole team stepped up tonight."

Nolan Lancaster continued his recent hot streak with three hits -- slugging a two-run blast in the third and adding two singles. Tyler Wicks delivered four hits, including two doubles, with two RBIs, while Jackson Frederick (2-4, 3 RBIs), Ryan Ford (1-3, 3 RBIs), Alex Casey (1-4, 2 RBIs) and Garrett Barfield (1-3, 2 RBIs) also had multi-RBI games.

Chad Gurley contributed a run-scoring single, while Byron Powell walked twice and scored two runs.

"They say the best defense is a good offense, and 14 or 15 different batters got up there and produced," Wayne County coach Nelson Cunningham said. "We got runners in scoring position all night, and the next guy came up and drove them in. We've got some hot hitters."

Post 11, which struck out only once in 42 plate appearances, scored six in the second, 11 in the third and six in the fifth and batted around in all three innings against a quartet of Northern Nash pitchers. The home team committed five errors -- leading to five unearned runs.

Northern starter, Wesley Joyner, took the loss and lasted just 11/3 innings -- yielding six earned runs on six hits.

Taylor Allen tossed 31/3 innings for Wayne to earn his second-straight win in a Game 3 setting after defeating North Lenoir last week. Allen gave up four runs on just three hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

Down 17-1, Northern got five of its seven runs in the fourth as a hit batter, a walk and a run-scoring error would chase Allen. Michael Douglas came on in relief and gave up hits to Tyler Joyner and Clay Blands, who drove in one run each, before getting out of the inning.

Wayne made all three of its errors in the fourth, which led to four unearned runs.

"We've just got to relax defensively. I know we have a good defense ... I hit grounders to them every day," Cunningham said. "They are the best in the county, and I believe in them."

Wayne improved to 3-0 in elimination games in the 2006 playoffs.

Wayne County 06(11) 06 -- 23 18 3

Northern Nash 010 51 -- 7 7 5

Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Scott Holloman 4-4, HR, 2 2Bs, 8 RBIs, 4 runs; Nolan Lancaster 3-4, HR, 2 RBIs; 3 runs; Tyler Wicks 4-5, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs, 4 runs; Ryan Ford 1-3, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Alex Casey 1-4, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Garrett Barfield 1-3, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Jackson Frederick 2-4, 3B, RBI, 3 runs. Northern Nash -- Tyler Joyner 1-2, RBI; Clay Bland 1-2, RBI; Justin Shannonhouse 1-2, 2B, RBI, 2 runs.


Wayne County

Allen (W) 31/3 3 4 3 4 2

Douglas 12/3 4 3 0 0 5

Northern Nash

Joyner (L) 11/3 5 6 6 2 0

Williams 1 5 9 8 3 1

Shannonhouse 2 7 7 5 1 0

Bland 2/3 1 1 1 0 0