02/28/07 — Missed opportunities plague Warriors in home defeat

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Missed opportunities plague Warriors in home defeat

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on February 28, 2007 2:38 PM

It was a night full of missed opportunities for Eastern Wayne.

Missed chances for a hit with runners on base and not finishing off opposing batters with two strikes. It wasn't surprising then that the Warriors season opener was a disappointing one, as they fell 5-1 to South Central.

"Their pitchers did a good job with two strikes," said Eastern Wayne coach Jabo Fulghum. "We didn't hit well with two strikes -- we didn't pitch well with two strikes. A lot of times you win or lose based on what you do with two strikes."

Not putting away a batter with two strikes burned starting pitcher John Wooten with the game's first hitter. Tyrell Worthington crushed a 1-2 pitch deep over the right-centerfield wall for a leadoff home run and a 1-0 Falcon lead.

The visiting Falcons looked as if they'd strike for another run later in the first-inning when Brian Avery hit a fly ball to the gap in right-centerfield. With a runner racing from first base, centerfielder Nolan Lancaster dove and made a highlight reel catch -- robbing Avery of extra bases and ending the inning.

Wooten again got into a jam in the second inning when South Central loaded the bases with two outs. Wooten stepped up though, and got Logan Hessert to ground out to end the threat and keep the score 1-0.

Eastern Wayne had its chances to mount rallies, but ended up stranding runners in every inning but the seventh.

South Central pitcher Gavin Mizelle worked his breaking pitch to perfection when he needed to. He got Wooten to hit into an inning ending groundout to end the third with a runner on second and Jeff Hill to end the fourth with a fly out to centerfield with two runners on.

"We couldn't lay off the breaking pitch today," said Fulghum.

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, the Warriors finally got a run home. With two outs, Jackson Fredrick singled and advanced all the way to third following a passed ball and wild pitch from reliever Bobby Rasberry.

Hill drew a walk and then, thanks to some tricky base running, was able to get Fredrick home.

Hill bolted towards second base while Rasberry still had the ball. When Rasberry turned to throw, Hill froze and forced the pitcher to throw the ball toward second base -- which went into centerfield. Fredrick then trotted home pulling the Warriors to within 2-1.

"That was a designed play," said Fulghum of Hill's creative baserunning.

South Central struck right back in the top of the seventh with three insurance runs. Hessert doubled home Jake Harrington and he later came home on a single by Billy Walling. A passed ball by catcher Tyler Wicks brought home the game's final run, giving the Falcons a commanding 5-1 advantage.

Matt Holton struck out two of the three hitters he faced in the bottom of the seventh to end the night.

Worthington led the Falcons (1-0) by going 1 for 1 with his first homer and two walks. Mizelle (1-0) picked up the win by throwing 42/3 shutout innings with two walks and two strikeouts.

Fredrick finished 2 for 3 with a run scored for Eastern Wayne (0-1) while Chad Gurley and Wicks both finished with a hit apiece. On the mound, Wooten (0-1) gave up two runs on four hits, walked three and struck out four in his four innings of work.

While happy to get out and play for real, Fulghum was disappointed in the outcome.

"Our kids are going to bounce back," he said. "I don't like to lose at all, but today was a learning experience. We need to make plays -- kids have to keep working hard."

South Central 100 100 3 -- 5 6 3

Eastern Wayne 000 001 0 -- 1 4 2

Leading hitters -- South Central -- Worthington 2-3, HR, Walk; Hessert 1-4, 2B, RBI, R; Jones 1-2, RBI. Eastern Wayne -- Fredrick 2-3, Run; Wicks 1-2; Gurley 1-3.


South Central

Mizzelle (W, 1-0) 42/3 3 0 0 2 2

Rasberry 11/3 1 1 0 3 2

Holton 1 0 0 0 0 2

Eastern Wayne

Wooten (L, 0-1) 4 4 2 2 3 4

Sutton 3 2 3 3 1 1