05/20/07 — Wayne Country Day splits DH in bid for state title

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Wayne Country Day splits DH in bid for state title

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 20, 2007 2:10 AM

WILSON -- Four outs was all Wayne Country Day needed for a state title.

Having already beaten Lawrence Academy 5-4 in game one of the best-of-three series at Fleming Stadium, the Chargers held a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth.

In the inning, Lawrence would get the tying run and two more in the seventh that proved to be the difference as it forced a decisive third game with a 5-3 victory over Wayne Country Day.

Wayne Country Day and Lawrence will now play at 2 p.m. today for the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A championship at Fleming Stadium.

Chargers coach Michael Taylor was happy his team was even in the second game as they were out hit 14-6 and committed three errors which led to three unearned runs.

"We were fortunate just to be in that ball game," he said. "Tomorrow we have to come back and be ready to play ball."

Wayne Country Day trailed 1-0 in the third inning and had recorded only one hit against Lawrence starter Judd Whitehead when Ryan Ford came up with a runner on and two outs. Ford hit a lazy fly ball into right field that was dropped by Dylan Ralph, which allowed Cameron Ford to score all the way from first base to tie the game.

Lawrence came right back and regained the lead on an RBI single by T.J. Johnston. The run was set up courtesy of the Chargers' second of three errors during the game.

"Three errors for both teams is uncharacteristic," Taylor said. "I think it was just the nerves of both teams."

Lawrence looked to finish off Wayne Country Day in the fifth inning when it loaded the bases with no outs against starter Kyle Pender. Taylor removed Pender and put in game one winning pitcher Travis Davis to try and minimize the damage.

Davis did better than that as he struck out the first two hitters he faced and then caught a line drive to end the inning. That kept it a one-run ball game.

"Travis is a workhorse," said Taylor. "He came in and got out of that jam. He did his job."

With momentum squarely on Wayne Country Day's side, it came out in the bottom of the inning and took the lead.

Back-to-back one-out hits by Cameron Ford and Sam Steed set the table. After a Ryan Ford ground out, Davis came up and provided more heroics -- this time with the bat.

Davis lined a shot that was grabbed by first baseman Daniel Oliver who then made an ill-advised throw to the pitcher who covered which went over his head.

Two runs scored on the play to give the Chargers a 3-2 lead.

Davis would finish game two 2-4 with an RBI.

Facing elmination, Lawrence was able to tie the game against Davis in the sixth and then took the lead in the seventh on an RBI double by Evan Holton and a sacrifice fly by Johnston.

The Chargers tried to mount a final rally when Cameron Ford was hit by a Whithead pitch to lead off the bottom of the seventh and Davis reached on a two-out hit.

With runners on first and third Kevin Herring grounded out to end the game.

"We just couldn't hang on there at the end," said Taylor. "Lawrence is a great team, but we're a great team also. That's why we're here."

Davis (11-2) took the loss as he allowed two earned runs in three innings, walked none and struck out three.

In game one of the afternoon, Wayne Country Day won 5-4 thanks to a late insurance run.

Davis' RBI double gave the Chargers a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seven inning. The run would turn out to be crucial as Lawrence would push a run across against closer Trent Langston.

With the tying run standing on second an the winning run at the plate, Langston stepped up and struck out J.T. Lilley to preserve the Wayne Country Day win.

Wayne Country Day falls to 21-5 overall and plays the do-or-die championship game tomorrow.

"So now it's 1-1 and comes down to tomorrow," said Taylor. "We'll see who comes and gets it."

Lawrence 001 101 2 -- 5 14 3

Wayne Country Day 001 200 0 -- 3 6 3

Leading Hitters -- Lawrence Academy -- J.T. Lilley 3-4; T.J. Johnston 2-4, 2 RBI; Daniel Oliver 2-3; Evan Holton 1-4, 2B, RBI. Wayne Country Day -- Travis Davis 2-4, RBI; Cameron Ford 1-2; Sam Steed 1-4.

LOB -- Lawrence 11, Wayne Country Day 9. SB -- Johnston, Lilley. CS -- Herring.



Whitehead (W) 7 6 3 3 2 1

Wayne Country Day

Pender 4 8 2 0 3 1

Davis (L, 11-2) 3 6 3 2 0 3

WP -- Pender, Whitehead. PB -- C. Whitehead.