05/13/07 — Wayne Christian moves on

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Wayne Christian moves on

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 13, 2007 2:03 AM

Timely hits weren't a commodity during the early innings of Wayne Christian's baseball game Saturday afternoon.

So the Eagles did the next best thing. They capitalized on United Faith Christian errors and cruised to an 8-3 victory in their opening-round, N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A playoff contest.

Wayne Christian, the No. 5 seed, earned its third consecutive trip to the quarterfinal round and a meeting against fourth-seeded Greenfield on Tuesday. A game time has not been determined.

The Eagles (15-4 overall) put runners in scoring position the first two innings against UFCA right-hander David Homesley. Homesley, a senior, induced an inning-ending flyout in the first with runners at second and third.

Catcher Jeff Barkley threw out Michael Johnson, who attempted to steal third base, to close out the second inning. Johnson led off the inning with a double off the center field fence -- one of four extra-base hits registered by Wayne Christian in the seven-inning affair.

"We left too many runners on early in the game and that happens," said Eagles head coach Tim Brannan. "Had we been able to put the ball in play a little bit more, I thought we might could have scored a few more runs."

The 12th-seeded Falcons threatened in the third inning, but stranded runners at second and third base. Wayne Christian right-hander Adam Brannan, the Carolina Christian Conference player of the year, coerced Barkley into an inning-ending strikeout.

The Eagles erased the scoreless tie in the fourth. Four UFCA errors combined with two walks, a hit batsman and Jeremy Jefferson's single put Wayne Christian in front 4-0.

"We've struggled with errors all year," said UFCA head coach Mitch Homesley. "We've had bad innings all year and it only takes one to do you in, and that's what happened to us today.

"We just gave up too many runs on errors."

Cale Grandy's two-out, one-strike RBI single helped the Falcons avoid the shutout in the fourth.

Wayne Christian answered with Josiah Wright's fifth-inning RBI single. The Eagles plated three sixth-inning runs on doubles by Michael Johnson and T.A. Brannan, another hit batsman and a walk.

"We got some timely hits that (eventually) made a difference," said coach Brannan.

Middle reliever Doug Johnson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. Jefferson yielded two unearned runs in the seventh and Adam Brannan, who started and threw three hitless innings, ended up with the save.

Johnson claimed his first mound win of the season. The right-hander allowed one earned run on four hits and collected four strikeouts.

"Doug came in and gave us some good middle relief," said coach Brannan. "We did not overpitch anybody, so we should be strong in our pitching going into Tuesday's game and that was our goal today.

"I thought Adam threw pretty well today, although I've seen him throw better."

And coach Brannan has seen his team produce more efficiently at the plate. The Eagles managed just six hits in the 2-hour, 33-minute outing. Michael Johnson and T.A. Brannan combined for four doubles in seven plate appearances. Jefferson and Wright had the other hits.

United Faith Christian 000 100 2 -- 4 6 6

Wayne Christian 004 013 x -- 8 6 3

Leading hitters -- United Faith Christian -- Matt Cummings 2-4, 2B; David Homesley 1-2; Brad Norton 2-3, 2B; Cale Grandy 1-4, RBI. Wayne Christian -- Jeremy Jefferson 1-2; Michael Johnson 2-3, 2 2Bs, 2 RBI; T.A. Brannan 2-4, 2 2Bs, RBI; Josiah Wright 1-4, RBI.

LOB -- UFCA 10, Wayne Christian 9. SB -- Cummings 2, Homesley 2, Norton 2, D. Johnson, Jefferson 2, Harrell. CS -- M. Johnson.


United Faith Christian

Homesley (L) 3 4 4 0 3 2

Barkley 3 4 4 4 4 4

Wayne Christian

A. Brannan 3 0 0 0 3 3

D. Johnson (W) 3 4 1 1 1 4

Jefferson 1/3 1 2 0 1 1

A. Brannan (S) 2/3 0 0 0 0 1

WP -- Homesley, Barkley, Jefferson, D. Johnson. PB -- Barkley. HBP -- by Homesley (M. Johnson), by Barkley (Jefferson).

T -- 2:33.