05/04/07 — Wooten leads 10-hit parade over Wilson Hunt

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Wooten leads 10-hit parade over Wilson Hunt

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 4, 2007 1:47 PM

When Eastern Wayne lost to Wilson Hunt pitcher Matt Watson 16 days ago they learned what not to do -- swing at high fastballs.

The Warriors got a second chance to avenge their 6-3 loss to Hunt and Watson in the second round of the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament by virtue of Kinston's scheduling mishap that caused it to forfeit on Wednesday.

On Thursday night, Eastern Wayne took the high pitches and hammered the rest of them in a 12-2 clobbering of Hunt in five innings. Eastern Wayne (13-12 overall) advances to Monday's championship game against Charles B. Aycock in Pikeville.

Against Hunt pitching, every Warrior reached base and, once there, usually scored.

"We did a great job tonight against Watson," said Eastern Wayne coach Jabo Fulghum. "We chased his high fastball last time and tonight we laid off it. We got some timely hits.

"Hunt's got a good ball club, we just jumped on them."

Eastern Wayne held a 1-0 lead after a first-inning RBI double by John Wooten when Hunt put the leadoff hitter on against Wooten in the top of the third.

Facing eighth place hitter Russell Ward, Wooten left a pitch up and had it hammered over the center field wall for a two-run homer.

"You hate to give up home runs, but that's part of the game," said Wooten. "I left it up and he hit it hard."

Despite now being on the wrong side of a 2-1 score, the Warriors didn't pout or panic.

"You've got to be stone faced and not drop your shoulders or act mad," said Wooten. "You've just got to take it upon yourself and go get the next guy."

Back-to-back hits by Chad Gurley and Wooten opened the bottom of the third and a walk to Taylor Sutton loaded the bases with no outs.

After a pop out by Tyler Wicks, Eastern Wayne regained the lead.

Nolan Lancaster lined a ball between second a third base for a two-run single to give the Warriors a 3-2 advantage that they'd never relinquish.

The next batter, Jackson Frederick hit a ball deep into the hole where shortstop Blake Jones bobbled the ball as Lancaster cut in front of him and unleashed a wild throw over first for one of his three errors on night, allowing two more runs to come home.

Eastern Wayne still wasn't done battering Watson as Jose Ponce would add an RBI single and Wooten connected for his second hit of the inning, a two-run single. The hit capped the seven-run third inning that gave the Warriors an 8-2 advantage.

"We've just been waiting for a good ball to hit and swing," said Wooten. "If you see a pitch you can take a rip on -- go ahead. I'd much rather us be really aggressive than passive."

Wooten finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

"I just got some good pitches and hit them," said Wooten.

Pitching now with a six-run lead, Wooten battled over the course of the next two innings as he allowed two hits in the fourth inning and two walks to start the fifth -- but was able to keep Hunt off the scoreboard.

"They hit the ball hard in a couple places, but they were right at people," said Wooten.

Wooten (4-4) would finish his quality start by allowing two runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one.

"Wooten battled," said Fulghum. "He started developing a changeup and is just getting his confidence throwing it."

Eastern Wayne finished off Hunt with a big exclamation point in the bottom of the fifth when Gurley and Sutton would have run scoring hits to put the Warriors ahead 10-2.

Then with runners on second and third and one out, Wicks hit a ground ball to Jones who threw wide home of the catcher, allowing Gurley and Wooten to score to end the game.

Fulghum and his Warriors hope to remain hot against Aycock -- a team that swept the Warriors during the regular season.

"If we continue to play like we did tonight we'll be fine," said Fulghum. "This is the second season for us here in the conference tournament. We aren't worried about the (state) playoffs right now -- our goal is to win the conference tournament."

Wilson Hunt 002 00 -- 2 6 3

Eastern Wayne 107 04 -- 12 10 1

One out when game-ending run scored

Leading hitters -- Wilson Hunt -- Russell Ward 1-2, HR, 2 RBI; Blake Jones 1-2, 2B. Eastern Wayne -- John Wooten, 3-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Chad Gurley 2-3, RBI; Nolan Lancaster 1-3, 2 RBI; Taylor Sutton 1-3, RBI; Jackson Frederick 1-3, RBI; Jose Ponce 1-2, RBI.

LOB -- Wilson Hunt 5, Eastern Wayne 4. SB -- Nygard, Wicks. CS -- Barnes, Nygard, Wicks.


Wilson Hunt

Watson (L) 2 2/3 7 8 6 3 3

Nygard 1 2/3 3 4 4 2 2

Eastern Wayne

Wooten (W, 4-4) 5 6 2 2 2 1

WP -- Watson, Nygard. PB -- Gourley. HBP -- by Watson (Hill), by Nygard (Hill).