05/31/07 — Wayne County survives walk parade

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Wayne County survives walk parade

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 31, 2007 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Whether it was the strike zone or nerves, balls were plentiful on Wednesday night.

With a couple of inexperienced pitchers on the mound, Wayne County Post 11 would issue 12 free passes on the night.

Most of those walks didn't come back to hurt Wayne County as Edgecombe County Post 316 would strand 13 runners and fall 6-3.

"I don't think if we fell out of a boat tonight we could have hit the ocean with the way the strike zone was," said Wayne County coach Brad Reaves. "We just couldn't throw strikes."

Starter Sterling Grice made his start in two weeks and inaugural American Legion appearance on the mound.

"I'm sure that combined to have some effect on his performance," said Reaves.

Grice's performance wasn't stellar, but could have been much worse.

Grice walked six batters in four innings, but also struck out six -- one of which was his biggest of the night.

In the top of the third inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Grice got A.J. Peaks to go down swinging to preserve a 3-1 lead.

Wayne County had taken the lead in the bottom of the first when Jackson Massey lined a Cody High pitch into the left-center field gap for a two-run triple. John Wooten would then follow with an RBI ground out.

Wayne County led it 4-1 in the fifth inning when another players would make his Legion debut.

Taylor Allen took the mound, but had some of the same control issues as Grice.

Allen would walk the first two batters he faced in the fifth inning. Drew Fairman then drove home Kyle Norville to cut the Wayne County lead to 4-2.

Allen would get out of the jam without another run crossing the plate. He allowed one run on one hit, walked four and struck out two in three innings to pick up the win.

"I think he was a little nervous," said Reaves. "This is his first time pitching at this level."

Nolan Lancaster would give Wayne County some much needed breathing room in the eighth inning.

Following a double by Massey, Wooten was drilled by a J.D. Davis pitch and Tyler Ham walked to load the bases.

Davis gave way to Patrick Goodwyn after failing to retire a batter.

Goodwyn was greeted by Lancaster who singled home Massey and Wooten to put Wayne County ahead 6-2.

"That's a big hit right there to put us up four there going into the last inning," said Reaves.

Wooten would walk two more batters and allow a run in the ninth inning, but kept the damage minimal as he would strike out Scott Tharrington looking to end the game.

Massey led Wayne County at the plate as he went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs.

"Jackson's going to be there for us," said Reaves. "He's our leader."

Wayne County will try to improve to a perfect 3-0 as it next travels to face Wilmington for a two-game series on Saturday and Sunday.

Edgecombe County Post 316 001 001 001 -- 3 2 4

Wayne County Post 11 300 100 02x -- 6 7 2

Leading Hitters -- Edgecombe County -- Patrick Goodwyn 1-4, RBI; Drew Fairman 1-4, RBI. Wayne County -- Jackson Massey 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 R; Nolan Lancaster 1-4, 2 RBI; John Wooten 1-3, 3B, RBI, R; Alex Casey 1-4, RBI; Tyler Edwards 1-2, R.

DP -- Edgecombe County 1, Wayne County 1. LOB -- Edgecombe County 13, Wayne County 6. SB -- Norville, Gurley, Gourley. CS -- Fairman, Gourley, Ham, Casey.


Edgecombe County

High (L) 7 5 4 3 4 2

Davis 0 1 2 2 1 0

Goodwyn 1 1 0 0 0 1

Wayne County

Grice 4 1 1 1 6 6

Allen (W, 1-0) 3 1 1 1 4 2

Wooten 2 0 1 0 2 1

PB -- Ham. HBP -- by Davis (Wooten), by Grice (Peaks), by Wooten (Davis).