05/30/07 — Wayne County Post 11 wins opener

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Wayne County Post 11 wins opener

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 30, 2007 1:49 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Wayne County Post 11 didn't squander its second chance with the bases loaded Tuesday evening.

After wasting a scoring opportunity in the seventh inning, Post 11 capitalized in the eighth against Garner Post 232. Nolan Lancaster's RBI sacrifice fly and a Post 232 throwing error accounted for two runs, and Wayne County triumphed 3-1 in its American Legion season opener at Scarborough Field.

Post 11 won its third straight season opener and fourth overall in Brad Reaves' five-year tenure as head coach.

"If you're a fan and like the game of baseball, that's as good as it gets," said Reaves after the game. "I thought whoever made the mistake (late) would pay for it, and they did."

Lancaster, in his Legion debut, delivered a one-out single in the Post 11 seventh. Chad Gurley walked and Dave Overman hit a fielder's choice grounder, but Garner's third baseman missed the tag on Lancaster at third.

Post 232 middle reliever Zack Howell struck out Alex Casey and coerced an inning-ending groundout from lead-off batter Tyler Edwards.

"That was my fault," said Reaves. "We were going to put on the squeeze with Casey, but we couldn't get the count like I wanted it. (Howell) was a little wild and had we gotten one ball, I would have called it.

"But falling behind 0-2 in the count didn't make it possible."

Garner (0-1) went quietly in the eighth and Wayne County rallied again.

Shortstop Walker Gourley singled up the middle and moved into scoring position on Jackson Massey's sacrifice bunt.

"Last year, Walker came up big late in some games for us," said Reaves. "He didn't really square it up that last time, but he did enough with it. And Jackson did his job."

Post 232 intentionally walked John Wooten and catcher Tyler Ham drew a free pass to load the bases. Lancaster lofted a fly ball to shallow center field and Gourley easily scampered home for a 2-1 Post 11 advantage.

"I felt good with Nolan up there because he had squared up two good balls earlier," said Reaves.

As Gourley crossed the plate on the play, Ham got hung up between first and second. Garner's infielders eventually mishandled the ball, which allowed Wooten to score.

Garner threatened in the ninth against Post 11 right-hander T.J. Hinson. The rising sophomore at Lenoir Community College struck out Hunter Smith, and recorded just the second complete, nine-inning outing by a Wayne County pitcher in the past five seasons.

Chris Pearsall threw a complete nine-inning contest June 11, 2003 against Beaufort County.

"He got up a little bit at the end, but he actually got better (late)," said Reaves.

Hinson (1-0) scattered five hits, struck out six and walked one. The former Southern Wayne standout threw a perfect second, third, seventh and eighth inning.

Garner Post 232 had just seven base runners and stranded five, including two in scoring position. Corey Carver batted 2-for-3 with an RBI triple in the sixth that broke a scoreless tie.

Lancaster saved Hinson with a superb fifth-inning, over-the-shoulder catch. Post 232 had a runner on first at the time.

"That was probably a game-saver ... an ESPN highlight, but Nolan has that ability," said Reaves.

Hinson threw 103 pitches, including 73 strikes.

Post 11 entertains Area I East newcomer Edgecombe County for a non-division game today. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Garner 000 001 000 -- 1 5 2

Wayne County 000 001 02x -- 3 7 0

Leading hitters -- Garner Post 232 -- Corey Carver 2-3, 2B, RBI; Jeremy Hall 1-3; Darren Sears 1-3. Wayne County Post 11 -- Walker Gourley 2-4; Jackson Massey 1-2, RBI; John Wooten 1-3; Nolan Lancaster 1-3, RBI; Chad Gurley 1-3; Dave Overman 1-3.

DP -- Garner 2. LOB -- Garner 5, Wayne County 8. SH -- Massey, Adams. SF -- Lancaster. SB -- Massey 2.


Garner Post 232

Tew 4 2 0 0 0 2

Howell 3 3 1 1 1 2

Ryan (L, 0-1) 1 1 2 1 2 1

Wayne County Post 11

Hinson (W, 1-0) 9 5 1 1 1 6

HBP -- by Hinson (Bingham), by Tew (Massey).

T -- 1:58.