Wayne Christian repeats as CCC baseball tournament champion
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 6, 2007 2:01 AM
ERWIN -- Adam Brannan fired a two-hitter and Wayne Christian successfully defended its Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference baseball tournament crown with an 8-0 decision over Northwood Temple.
Brannan earned Most Valuable Player honors for the Eagles, who picked up their third CCC tournament title in the last four seasons. The junior right-hander notched 13 strikeouts and faced four hitters over the minimum for a seven-inning game.
After 21/2 scoreless innings, the top-seeded Eagles erupted with a five-run outburst. Dante Arthur and Brannan each reached on a single, but the play nearly turned disastrous.
Arthur stayed at second base and didn't move as Brannan attempted to stretch his base hit into a double. Northwood failed to execute the rundown and Arthur eventually scored the game-winning run on a throwing error.
Wayne Christian parlayed a hit batsman, another infield error, a walk and two base hits into four additional runs. Brannan trotted to the mound to start the fourth with a five-run cushion.
Northwood had spoiled Brannan's no-hit and perfect-game bid in the third. But the navy- and gold-clad Eagles wouldn't put another runner aboard until the seventh inning as Brannan retired nine straight batters.
Brannan spearheaded a sixth-inning rally when he was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Jeremy Jefferson laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to plate Brannan. Jefferson sustained some bruised ribs on the play and his courtesy runner, Jordan Crouthamel, was awarded second base on an interference call.
Kyle Harrell walked. Another Northwood error allowed Crouthamel and Harrell to finish off the 8-0 finale.
Brannan (9-2) yielded his second hit and a walk in the seventh inning. Wayne Christian committed an error to load the bases, but Brannan -- who was also selected the CCC player of the year -- ended the contest with a strikeout.
Brannan, eighth-grade catcher Dante Arthur, sophomore shortstop Michael Johnson and senior Doug Johnson earned spots on the all-tournament team. Brannan, Johnson, Jefferson and Harrell were named to the all-conference team.
Wayne Christian (14-4 overall) grabbed the automatic bid to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Eagles lost to eventual state champion Waccamaw in the second round a year ago.
"We're hoping to get a top-four seed and get a home game in the first round," said Wayne Christian's Tim Brannan, who repeated as CCC coach of the year. "It makes a big difference."
2007 Class 1-A
Carolina Christian Conference
(at Cape Fear Christian, Erwin)
Northwood 000 000 0 -- 0 2 3
W. Christian 005 003 x -- 8 8 1
Leading hitters -- Wayne Christian -- Adam Brannan 2-3; Doug Johnson 2-4; Jeremy Jefferson 1-3, RBI; Josiah Wright 1-4; Dominick Arthur 1-1, RBI; Dante Arthur 1-2; Michael Johnson 3 RBI.
IP H R ER BB SO
A. Brannan (W) 7 2 0 0 1 13
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