05/21/07 — WCDS takes NCISAA 1-A title

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WCDS takes NCISAA 1-A title

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 21, 2007 1:47 PM

WILSON -- Ryan Ford had been in this situation before.

In Wayne Country Day's season opener against North Duplin, Ford got the Chargers out of a bases loaded jam to close a two-run victory.

Ironically, the same scenario played out on Sunday in Wayne Country Day's final game at Fleming Stadium as Ford tried to preserve the lead with a state title on the line.

With the bases loaded and the Chargers nursing a two-run advantage, Ford would get Joe Harrell to pop up to his brother, Cameron Ford, for the final out in Wayne Country Day's 4-2 victory over Lawrence Academy.

The victory gives Wayne Country Day the 2007 N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A state championship.

"Seems like every time I pitch I get into a jam," said Ford. "Today it was like déjà vu all over again. I wasn't trying to throw it by anyone, I just wanted to let the defense do its work because that's what they do best.

"Then, my little brother catching the final out and me pitching... that was unbelievable."

As the final out was recorded, the Chargers leaped out of the dugout and mobbed each other in a huge dog pile in front of the pitcher's mound.

Wayne Country Day coach Michael Taylor laid face down into the grass, overcome with emotion.

"We did everything we could do to win the ball game," said Taylor, still dripping from his water cooler shower. "This is the best feeling in the world. I'm on cloud nine. It doesn't get any greater than this."

The winner-take-all title game was necessary after Wayne Country Day split a double header with Lawrence on Saturday, winning the first game 5-4 while dropping the second 5-3.

From the outset, the Chargers looked like the better team on Sunday against the tournament's top seed.

Going against yesterday's winning pitcher, Judd Whitehead, the Chargers jumped on the hurler in the second inning.

Travis Davis continued his spectacular hitting from the weekend with a leadoff triple and then came home on a Kevin Herring single to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead.

Wayne Country Day added to the lead in the third inning when Cameron Ford was hit by a Whitehead pitch to get things started. Dylan Ralph then entered in relief of Whitehead and proceeded to give up an RBI double to Ryan Ford.

Following an intentional walk to Davis and a strikeout of Herring, starting pitcher Trent Langston singled home Ford to make it 3-0 Wayne Country Day.

"We got the timely hits today that we didn't yesterday," said Taylor.

Davis would later give the Chargers a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning when he crushed a 2-0 fastball deep over the scoreboard in left field for a solo home run.

"I just kind of swung for the fence and hit it over," said Davis.

The four-run lead was all Langston needed as he would allow only one run in six innings to pick up the win.

Langston -- who pitched with runners on base throughout the game -- looked to be in serious trouble in the bottom of the fifth when the Warriors loaded the bases with two outs. The right-hander was able to get out of the jam when J.T. Lilley hit a sharp ground ball that was back handed by Davis at shortstop, who flipped it to Cameron Ford at second base to end the inning.

"Trent Langston pitched a great six innings and did his job," said Taylor. "Our defense was great today also."

Going into the bottom of the seventh with a three-run advantage, the Chargers gave the ball to Ryan Ford.

Ford allowed five baserunners in the inning, but only one came home as he recorded his most important save of the season.

"(Ryan) wanted it," said Taylor. "We put the ball in his hands and he came through."

The victory ignited a celebration -- not just on the field -- but also in the stands as a large contingent of Wayne Country Day supporters shared hugs and tears over their Chargers.

"We've had great fan support all year," said Taylor. "It's like one big family and that's what I love about Wayne Country Day. They all support us and we couldn't do it without them."

For Wayne Country Day, Langston finished 2-for-4 with an RBI while Jack Scott also recorded two hits. Davis wrapped up his huge weekend by going 3-for-3 and finishing a double shy of the cycle.

"It's surreal right now," said Davis. "I can't even explain it. I've never won a state championship before so it's a good way to go out.

"It was a great season. We had lots of goals and we were able to accomplish all of them."

NOTES: Wayne Country Day ends the season 22-5 while Lawrence Academy finishes 22-6... Travis Davis, Ryan Ford and Trent Langston were all named to the all-state team.

WCDS 012 010 0 -- 4 9 1

Lawrence 000 001 1 -- 2 11 1

Leading Hitters -- Wayne Country Day -- Travis Davis 3-3, HR, 3B, RBI; Trent Langston 2-2, RBI; Jack Scott 2-3; Ryan Ford 1-4, 2B, RBI; Kevin Herring 1-4, RBI. Lawrence Academy -- Jake Mitchell 3-4; Evan Holton 2-4; Daniel Oliver 1-3, RBI; Joe Harrell 1-3, RBI.

DP -- Wayne Country Day 1, Lawrence Academy 2. LOB -- Wayne Country Day 7, Lawrence Academy 13. SB -- Holton 2, Johnston, Mitchell. CS -- Whitehead. S -- Roberts.


Lawrence Academy

Whitehead (L) 2 4 1 1 0 1

Ralph 5 5 3 3 2 2

Wayne Country Day

Langston (W) 6 8 1 1 2 3

Ford (S) 1 3 1 1 2 0

Whitehead pitched to one batter in the third.

HBP -- by Whitehead (C. Ford).