Wayne 15s lose heartbreaker
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 17, 2006 2:11 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- An error-filled beginning, wrapped around a third-inning comeback, led to a disappointing finish for Wayne County's 15U baseball team Sunday afternoon.
Chris Johnson laced a two-out, two-RBI single into left center field and Johnston County emerged the Eastern N.C. District 4 Babe Ruth champion with a 13-11 decision. Johnston County (3-1) earned a berth in the eight-team ENC state tournament, which begins play Thursday at Lumber River.
"A wild one," said Wayne County coach Curt Douglas.
Four errors, coupled with three hits during a two-inning stretch, allowed Johnston County to claim a 3-0 lead.
Wayne County, which squandered scoring opportunities in each of the first two innings, finally answered in the third. Jay Parchman drew a walk, Jordan Hood singled and Greg Champion loaded the bases with another single.
Steven Best lofted a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Parchman and ignited a game-shifting, nine-run uprising. Lucas Potter smacked an RBI double into right field and the troubles had only begun for JC right-hander Hunter Lane, a rising sophomore at North Johnston.
Lane and reliever Jonathan Wood faced 15 batters in the 35-minute half inning, and surrendered nine runs (five earned) on six hits with two errors.
"We just started hitting," said Douglas.
But errors continued to haunt Wayne County.
Several misplayed ground balls helped Johnston County whittle away the six-run deficit. Lane provided an RBI double in the fourth and Corey Poston's lead-off triple spurned a four-run fifth inning, which closed the gap to 9-8.
Robert Herring's two-RBI double boosted Wayne County's advantage to 13-10 in the fifth.
Johnston pulled within 11-10 on Ruel Merritt's pinch-hit, two-RBI single in the sixth. Coach Charlie Young's team added three runs in the seventh, including Johnson's game-clinching two-RBI single.
Wayne County rallied in the seventh. Potter delivered a one-out single and moved into scoring position on Nathan James' two-strike, pinch-hit single down the right-field line. Potter got thrown out at third on a fielder's choice and after a double steal, Johnson induced a groundout to third base.
When first baseman Charlie Young scooped up the low throw and tagged the base, he pumped his fist in the air in celebration.
"I thought we had a chance; were still in the ball game," said Douglas, whose team finished with 13 hits and left 12 runners on base. "We just made too many errors in the field and let them back in the game.
"We just gave them too many outs several times. That was the biggest difference."
Eastern N.C. Babe Ruth
District 4 Baseball
(at Spring Creek HS)
Johnston 120 142 3 -- 13 13 3
Wayne 009 020 0 -- 11 13 7
Leading hitters -- Johnston County -- Corey Poston 2-5, 3B, RBI; Chris Johnson 3-4, 3 RBI; Jonathan Wood 1-3, 2B; Will Olive 2-3, 3B, 2 RBI; Hunter Lane 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI. Wayne County -- Jordan Hood 2-3; Steven Best 2-4, 3 RBi; Lucas Potter 2-4, 2B, RBI; Robert Herring 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Nathan James 1-1; P.J. Hayes 2-4.
DP -- Wayne County 1. LOB -- Johnston County 6, Wayne County 12. SF -- Best. SB -- Holloman, Poston, Herring, Hayes. CS -- Hood, Poston, Wood.
IP H R ER BB SO
Lane 21/3 7 8 5 3 5
Wood 12/3 2 1 0 1 0
Johnson (W) 3 5 2 2 2 2
Hayes 2 3 3 0 1 0
Champion 3 5 5 3 0 2
Prunest 1 2 2 1 0 0
Hayes (L) 1 3 3 3 1 0
WP -- Prunest, Lane, Wood. PB -- Best 2. HBP -- Herring (by Lane).
T -- 2:00.
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