05/16/07 — WCDS advance in state playoffs

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WCDS advance in state playoffs

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 16, 2007 1:48 PM

Instead of being confident facing a team Wayne Country Day had beaten four previous times this season, coach Michael Taylor was nervous.

Those fears were further fueled when he saw his Chargers go down 2-1 to Faith Christian of Rocky Mount in the fourth inning.

"I was really, really nervous," said Taylor. "I told my guys that they needed to play ball and forget about the previous four games because if we lose this, it doesn't matter about those other four wins. All that matters is what happens today."

Taylor's Chargers then got rolling as they would put up nine runs over the next three innings to pull out a 10-6 win in the opening round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A baseball playoffs.

Wayne Country Day (20-4 overall) faces Waccamaw Academy in the semifinals Friday afternoon at Fleming Stadium in Wilson.

At the start of the contest on Tuesday afternoon, the second seeded Chargers seemed to be in trouble as Faith Christian came out playing terrific baseball.

The Patriots went up 1-0 and 2-1 while holding the powerful Wayne Country Day offense in check.

To make matters worse, the Patriots were hitting line drives all over the field against Chargers ace Travis Davis.

It wasn't until the fifth inning, in a 2-2 game, that the Chargers found their stroke.

With two outs, Wayne Country Day loaded the bases for Kevin Herring who lined a first-pitch fastball from Patriots pitcher Dillon Proctor for a two-run single. Herring would finish the day 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

"That's why he's batting in the five spot," said Taylor. "He hasn't really had much of a chance to drive in runs with Travis hitting in front of him since he's been getting everyone in."

Trent Langston followed with an RBI single to give the Chargers a 5-2 advantage.

"Those were crucial, crucial runs to put (Faith Christian) back on their heels," said Taylor.

The hitting continued in the following inning as it didn't matter the pitcher they faced, the Chargers were getting on base.

The Patriots would use four different pitchers in the inning -- most unsuccessfully -- as the Chargers scored five runs.

Run scoring hits by Ryan Ford, Cory Roberts and Herring put the runs on the scoreboard.

The 10-run output was surprising in that Davis -- the team's leading hitter all season -- struggled at the plate going 0-3.

"This is a great team and this is why we got a two seed," said Taylor. "People were stepping up and that's what we're going to have to do to keep things rolling."

The game nearly turned exciting in the top of the seventh as Faith Christian loaded the bases with two outs for Patrick Barnes.

Davis -- who had gone the distance for the Chargers -- got ahead in the count at 1-2 before Barnes connected for a grand slam, cutting the lead to 10-6.

"I knew it was going to be a tough ballgame," said Taylor. "Faith is a very tough team and they played well tonight. They never gave up."

Davis then erased any thoughts of a huge comeback as he got Eric Mull to ground out to end the game and pick up his 11th win of the season.

"We got timely hits when we needed them and they did not," said Taylor. "That's what decided the ball game."

Faith Christian 100 100 4 -- 6 9 2

WCDS 010 135 x -- 10 8 3

Leading Hitters -- Faith Christian -- Jared Kelley 3-4; Brandon Miles 2-3, RBI; Patrick Barnes 1-4, HR, 4 RBI. WCDS -- Kevin Herring 2-3, 3 RBI; Ryan Ford 2-3, RBI; Cory Roberts 1-2, 3 RBI; Jack Scott 1-4, RBI.

LOB -- Faith Christian 7, WCDS 6. SB -- Miles, R. Ford 2, Steed, Herring, Langston. S -- Steed.


Faith Christian

Proctor (L) 42/3 4 5 5 3 2

Kelley 2/3 1 1 1 1 1

Ellis 0 1 2 2 0 0

Proctor 1/3 1 1 1 0 1

Whichard 1/3 1 1 1 0 0

Wayne Country Day

Davis (W) 7 9 6 6 0 4

WP -- Proctor, Davis, Whichard. PB -- Mull. HBP -- by Proctor (R. Ford, Davis); by Whichard (Langston); by Davis (Mull, Miles).