07/14/06 — Wayne 13s struggle in District 4 loss

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Wayne 13s struggle in District 4 loss

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 14, 2006 2:10 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- The Wayne County 13-year-old all-star team took an unexpected and disappointing detour on its trek toward a possible Eastern N.C. Babe Ruth District 4 crown Thursday evening.

Despite collecting seven stolen bases and receiving nine walks, Wayne County fell short in its title-game bid against Greene County. Deric Grant's sixth-inning triple ignited a five-run uprising and Greene County escaped 8-6 on the Spring Creek High School diamond.

Greene County, which remained unbeaten in two outings, advanced to Sunday's final at 2 p.m. Wayne County (1-1) tumbled into the losers' bracket and faces Wilson County at 3:30 p.m. Saturday for the right to play again Sunday.

The 14s and 15s take the field today, weather permitting.

Wayne County's 14-year-olds own a 1-0 in their best-of-three series against Johnston County. Will Beasley, who doubles as the team's catcher, takes the mound for his first tournament start. Game time is 6 p.m.

Johnston County and Greene County meet at 8:30 p.m. in the championship bracket of the 15-year-old tournament. The loser opposes Wayne County at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"We had a lot of tough luck tonight," said Wayne County coach Wiley Keel, whose team notched seven stole bases. "I have to give them (Greene County) credit because they hung in there; made some plays that kept us on the basepaths.

"I know we left the bases loaded twice."

Wayne County put 22 men on base during the 2-hour, 24-minute affair and stranded 10 batters overall, including five in scoring position. Greene County's defense retired seven runners on infield groundouts and turned an inning-ending double play in the fourth.

"We've got to do things to get those guys in," said Keel.

Greene County seized a 3-0 lead in its first at-bat. Wayne County pitcher Josh Frederick yielded three walks, a wild pitch and two-RBI single to third baseman Will Crandell during that stretch.

Frederick, a left-hander, relaxed after the laborious first inning and kept Greene County's bats silent. He retired 13 of 16 batters during four-plus innings until Grant slapped a belt-high fastball into the right center field gap in the sixth inning.

Crandell (2-for-3) dropped an RBI single into center field to score Grant and push Greene County back in front 4-3. Two errors, including an errant throw on a bunt, caused further problems for Wayne County.

Right-hander Christian Pate replaced Frederick (0-1) and recorded back-to-back outs to end Greene County's five-run uprising. Only one run was earned.

"Josh did an excellent job from the second to the fifth, and got a little tired in the sixth," Keel said. "He started getting the ball up a little and their guys got some big hits off of him.

"We should have been in control of the game, but didn't do the things we needed to do (early). They just took advantage of our mistakes."

Wayne County tried to answer Greene County's rally in the seventh.

Wes Sowers, who relieved Grant in the fourth, issued three consecutive walks to Pate, Nick Gurley and Logan Wicks. Tanner Smith laced a grounder down the third-base line and Keel thought it was a foul ball.

Home plate umpire Donnie King called it fair and Crandell easily threw out Pate at the plate.

"(King) saw it his way and I saw it mine," said Keel. "We have to go with what the umpire says. It was a big call at the time. But, that wasn't the reason we lost the game."

Tyler Mozingo drew an RBI walk and Noah Hinson plated Wicks with a fielder's choice. Josh Frederick followed with a fly ball to left field that got caught in the swirling wind and bounced off the defender's glove.

Smith scooted home, but Crandell -- again -- factored into the evening's most-crucial play. Hinson tried to take third base on the error, but left fielder Blake Jordan gunned him down at third to end the game.

Keel laid stretched out on the ground as he agonizingly watched Hinson slide into Crandell's glove.

"Kids get excited and try to make big plays. You hope they turn out for the best," said Keel. "The young man, that was his first time being on base in the tournament, and I think he was a little excited."

Notes: Jackson Keel emerged Wayne County's offensive leader with three hits and has four hits overall in two tournament games. ... Jonathan Jenkins, who threw a complete game against Johnston County, added two hits. ... Wayne County is batting .277 (15-for-54) in the tournament and has left 20 runners on base. ... Opposing teams have managed just five hits in 13 innings against Wayne County's pitching staff.

Eastern N.C. District 4

Babe Ruth 13s


(at Spring Creek HS)

Championship bracket

Wayne County 101 001 3 -- 6 6 4

Greene County 300 005 x -- 8 3 5

Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Jackson Keel 3-4, RBI; Jonathan Jenkins 2-3; Nick Gurley 1-2, RBI. Greene County -- Deric Grant 1-3, 3B; Will Crandell 2-3, 2 RBI.


Wayne County

Frederick (L, 0-1) 51/3 3 8 3 6 8

Pate 2/3 0 0 0 0 0

Greene County

Grant 3 3 2 1 3 4

Sowers (W, 1-0) 4 4 4 2 6 3

WP -- Grant, Sowers, Frederick.