Post 11 escapes Kinston
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 12, 2007 1:48 PM
KINSTON -- Five hits.
One hit with a runner in scoring position.
Countless mental mistakes on base.
Despite those dissatisfying details, Wayne County Post 11 had two other factors -- luck and pitching -- work in its favor Monday evening against Kinston Post 43. An infield error and two solid pitching performances led to a 2-1, 10-inning triumph in the Area I East South Division opener for both teams.
Tied at 1-1, designated hitter Jay Rose drew a two-out walk in the 10th. Kinston reliever Billy Dudding plunked Tyler Ham on a full count. Alex Casey replaced Rose at second base and Nolan Lancaster stepped into the box.
Working with a two-strike count, Dudding threw toward first and appeared to have Ham picked off. Casey took off for third and as the Post 43 defense converged on Ham, Casey slid across the plate.
A Kinston infielder tagged Ham, but dropped the ball. Ham scampered back to first, but was left stranded when Lancaster hit an inning-ending groundout.
"Thank God we made one more (base-running mistake) or we'd probably still be playing," said fifth-year Post 11 skipper Brad Reaves. "I had absolutely nothing called. We were going to try to take third and that's why I put Alex in because he's a pretty good base runner.
"If we had gotten in a breaking-ball count, we were going to take third."
North Carolina signee Garrett Davis, who took the mound in the sixth, retired nine of the first 12 batters he faced on strikeouts. The right-hander yielded a two-strike, lead-off single to Antonio Whitfield (3-for-4) to start the Kinston 10th.
After a sacrifice bunt and strikeout, Davis walked Brad Jones on five pitches. Despite a balk, Davis forced Bryce Grady to swing at a high two-strike pitch.
The ball deflected off the umpire, Ham picked it up and tagged Grady for the final out. The Post 43 coaching staff thought Grady had fouled off the pitch, but the umpire said he didn't.
Wayne County remained unbeaten in four outings, but Reaves couldn't conceal his disappointment after the game. Post 11 put a runner aboard in every inning, but batted a frigid .100 with seven of 11 players in scoring position.
Kinston left-hander Brandon Sutton picked off two runners and benefited from a second-inning double play that silenced a potentially big inning for Post 11. Sutton, along with relievers Dewitt Pope (five strikeouts) and Dudding, held Wayne County hitless after the fifth inning.
"We sure didn't hit it ... didn't make an adjustment all game," said Reaves, whose team managed just five hits. "I didn't think those arms were as good as the arms we saw earlier (against Garner), I really didn't.
"If it wasn't for two great pitching performances, we're killed."
Post 11 left-hander Grant Sasser limited Kinston to an unearned run on Grant Williams' two-strike RBI single in the fourth. The N.C. State signee profited from two double plays, notched five strikeouts and walked one in a five-inning stint.
Sasser and Davis combined to retire 14 straight batters until Whitfield's base hit in the 10th.
"I thought Grant was pretty good ... made some pitches with two strikes that were not good at all," said Reaves. "I thought Garrett was much better than last time I saw him. Garrett knocked a few people off the plate (tonight) and that's what he's got to do."
Chad Gurley provided Wayne County's lone RBI -- a two-out single in the second that scored Dave Overman. Overman, Walker Gourley, Jackson Massey and John Wooten contributed one hit apiece.
"We didn't come ready to play today ... not focused," said Reaves. "We came to the yard and we never locked in. I told them we should have gotten beat tonight. It takes 19 (players) pulling in one direction and we don't have that right now.
"I knew it would take some time for these guys to mesh together. I want them to do it on the bus ride here and there. We've got a little atmosphere adjustment to make and we'll make that."
Wayne County entertains unbeaten Snow Hill Post 94 today. Game time is 7 p.m. at Mount Olive College.
Post 11 010 000 000 1 -- 2 5 2
Kinston 000 100 000 0 -- 1 5 3
Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Chad Gurley 1-2, RBI; Walker Gourley 1-3; Jackson Massey 1-5; John Wooten 1-2; Dave Overman 1-4. Kinston -- Antonio Whitfield 3-4; Grant Williams 1-2, RBI; Brad Jones 1-3.
DP -- Wayne County 2, Kinston 1. LOB -- Wayne County 11, Kinston 6. CS -- Lancaster. SH -- Croom.
IP H R ER BB SO
Sasser 6 4 1 0 1 3
Davis (W, 1-0) 5 1 0 0 1 11
Sutton 8 5 1 1 4 7
Pope 2 0 0 0 2 5
Dudding (L) 1 0 1 1 1 0
WP -- Pope. PB -- Smith. HBP -- by Sutton (Wright), by Sasser (Williams), by Sutton (Lancaster), by Sutton (Lancaster), by Dudding (Ham). BK -- Davis.
T -- 3:04.
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