Wayne Country Day opens season with 5-3 win at North Duplin
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on March 9, 2007 2:42 PM
CALYPSO -- The players sitting in the Wayne Country Day School dugout watched in awe as North Duplin pitcher Doug Lloyd set down the Chargers 1-2-3 in the first inning.
The nervousness of an opening game and going against a talented Rebels' team seemed to play out throughout the opening inning as North Duplin scored the game's first run and looked for more as the home team loaded the bases.
Charger starter Trent Langston kept his cool and got Brad Rhodes to fly out to end the threat. Travis Davis then led off the second inning with a home run and suddenly, the Chargers realized they could play with these guys.
The home run led to five unanswered runs as the Chargers recorded a hard-fought 5-3 victory over North Duplin on Thursday night.
"I think it was jitters at the start of the game -- especially opening up against a team like North Duplin," said Wayne Country Day coach Michael Taylor. "That first inning, we went three up and three down and the guys were like 'wow' in the dugout. Travis hits the home run and I think that kind of picked us up a little bit."
Following Davis' blast, the Chargers would score two more times on a RBI double by Cory Robert and a RBI single by Kyle Pender to put WCDS ahead 3-1.
Wayne Country Day would end Lloyd's day and go up 5-1 in the top of the third when Langston helped his own cause by hitting a ground-rule double with the bases full of Chargers to drive home two runs.
"Doug had a little hardship to start with and never really got comfortable on the mound," said North Duplin coach Joey Keefe. "I felt like we were a little on our heels the first few innings."
Langston held the Rebels to only one run for the first three innings before Davis entered and continued to shut down the North Duplin bats.
"We got a run under our belt and we seemed to be satisfied with that," Keefe said.
Langston finished giving up one run on three hits, walked one and struck out three. Davis (1-0) picked up the victory by pitching 31/3 innings and giving up two runs on six hits, walked one and struck out five.
The Chargers had their own troubles at the plate as their bats were kept quiet by North Duplin reliever Rock Bennett, who threw 41/3 perfect innings while striking out six. Bennett retired WCDS 1-2-3 in the final four innings of the game.
"(Rock) did an outstanding job for us on the mound tonight -- coming in there and shutting them down," said Keefe.
Trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, North Duplin mounted a rally against Davis.
Billy Mello led off with and infield single and stole second. With one out, pinch-hitter Taylor Coats singled to score Mello.
Trea Beavers followed with another single and suddenly, the once comfortable three-run lead the Chargers had enjoyed seemed in jeopardy.
"North Duplin's a good team, they scratch and they claw," Taylor said.
A walk to Bennett loaded the bases and caused Taylor to go to his bullpen to bring in his closer in training -- Ryan Ford.
Ford quickly gave Taylor a few grey hairs as he threw three straight balls to Will Lewis.
"I kind of gave him the stare down because he threw a curve ball (on ball three)," said Taylor. "I just looked at him and said, 'I don't want that,' but then it's kind of ironic because he ended the game with a breaking ball. The breaking ball is his No. 1 pitch."
Ford fought back to strike Lewis out swinging and then struck out Rhodes looking -- after falling behind 2-0 -- to record the game's final out and pick up the save.
Wayne Country Day had escaped with its first victory while North Duplin dropped its first game of the season to fall to 2-1.
"We came back in the seventh inning and rallied," said Keefe. "We had an opportunity to bust the game wide open and win the ballgame, but we just couldn't pull through at the end. The guys showed a lot of heart and intensity at the end of the game.
"I just hope we can do that throughout the whole game in the future and not just at the end."
WCDS 032 000 0 -- 5 6 4
N. Duplin 100 001 1 -- 3 8 0
Leading Hitters -- Wayne Country Day -- Trent Langston 1-3, 2B, 2RBI; Travis Davis 1-3, HR, RBI; Cory Robert 1-3, 2B, RBI. North Duplin -- Will Lewis 2-4, RBI; Billy Mello 2-4, 2B, R; Taylor Coats 1-1, RBI.
LOB -- WCDS 2, North Duplin 10. SB -- Ford, Herring, Mello. CS -- Ford, Howell.
IP H R ER BB SO
Langston 3 3 1 1 1 3
Davis (W, 1-0) 31/3 6 2 1 1 5
Ford (S, 1) 2/3 0 0 0 0 2
Lloyd (L, 1-1) 22/3 6 5 5 3 3
Bennett 41/3 0 0 0 0 6
WP -- Davis. PB -- Ford. Balk -- Davis.
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