Pivotal victory: Post 11 triumphs at home
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 3, 2007 1:48 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Wayne County Post 11 tossed aside a shaky beginning and moved one step closer to punching its ticket for the Area I East Division playoffs Monday evening.
Post 11 twice rallied from early-inning deficits and prevailed 11-8 against South Division rival Pitt County Post 160 on the Scarborough Field diamond. Wayne County (11-2 overall) seized its fourth consecutive victory and improved to 5-2 in South Division play.
A win tonight at home against Kinston Post 43 assures Post 11 of a berth in the season-ending, eight-team division tournament. Game time is 7 p.m.
"We control our own destiny," said Wayne County coach Brad Reaves.
Post 160 appeared determine to hand Post 11 a different, dismal fate during the first four innings. Heath Glidewell and Spencer Fagan each clubbed a two-RBI hit against left-hander Grant Sasser, who was making his first start in nearly a month.
Sasser exited after Fagan's fourth-inning smash. The N.C. State signee threw just two first-pitch strikes to the first 11 batters he faced, and yielded five runs (four earned) on six hits.
"I kind of saw that coming," said Reaves. "It's not the same throwing in that bullpen as it is right up there (on the mound). It's two different worlds."
Post 11 right-hander Sterling Grice finished off Post 160 in the fourth, and threw two consecutive scoreless innings. The right-hander allowed the first two Post 160 batters to reach base in the sixth, but wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam.
Gavin Mizzelle hit into a fielder's choice groundout for a force play at home. Grice (2-0) coerced Billy Walling into an inning-ending pop-up to shortstop Walker Gourley, who logged three putouts and two assists on defense.
"Not to make excuses, but in a couple of situations, we had young guys at the plate who are learning the game," said Post 160 coach Brandon Hodges. "We missed a big opportunity to score some runs."
Meanwhile Fagan, a rising sophomore at Chowan College, couldn't escape a disastrous fifth inning. The right-hander walked Jackson Massey (3-for-3) and hit Gourley. One out later, John Wooten supplied a game-tying, two-RBI double.
After a groundout, the next two Post 11 batters -- Thomas Pilkington and Tyler Ham -- reached base when Post 160 outfielders lost the ball in the lights. Pilkington scored on Ham's double that sailed over Glidewell's head and bounced on the warning track in left field.
Will Edgerton (3-for-4) plated Ham with a run-scoring single to complete the five-run uprising.
"That one inning is what hurt us," said Hodges.
Wayne County benefited from two intentional walks in the sixth. Jay Rose lofted an RBI sacrifice fly to center field and Garrett Davis trotted home on Pilkington's second base hit on the night.
Post 11 led 10-5.
"That's the way ball bounces in baseball," said Hodges of the reverse fortunes in the sixth. "It just didn't go our way that time. We wanted to get a ground ball there and get out of the inning, but it didn't happen."
Post 160 pulled within 10-8 on Glidewell's two-run homer in the seventh and Logan Hessert's solo blast in the eighth. Ham delivered an insurance RBI in Post 11 eighth and Davis closed the door with a perfect ninth, striking out two of three batters he faced.
Wayne County improved to 7-1 at home and matched its season-high win streak after the disheartening outing eight days ago at Pitt County Post 39.
"I think that was a little wake-up call for them," said Reaves. "We didn't come to play and they realized now you've got to come to play every night.
"We can go as far as we want to go in the playoffs. These kids are going to play hard; going to fight."
Pitt 160 030 200 210 -- 8 12 0
Wayne County 201 052 01x -- 11 14 2
Leading hitters -- Pitt County 160 -- Spencer Fagan 2-3, 3 RBI; Logan Hessert 2-4, HR, RBI; Kramer Sneed 3-4, 2B; Heath Glidewell 3-5, 2B, HR, 5 RBI. Wayne County -- Jackson Massey 3-3; John Wooten 1-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Jay Rose 1-4, 3B, RBI; Thomas Pilkington 2-4, 2 RBI; Tyler Ham 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Will Edgerton 3-4, 3B, RBI.
LOB -- Pitt 160 9, Wayne County 9. SB -- Massey 3, Gourley 2, Davis, Pilkington, Sneed. CS -- Sharpe, Fagan. SF -- Rose.
IP H R ER BB SO
Pitt County 160
Fagan (L) 4 2/3 8 8 7 2 6
Rasberry 1/3 1 0 0 0 0
Hessert 3 5 3 3 3 1
Sasser 3 1/3 6 5 4 2 3
Grice (W, 2-0) 3 2/3 4 2 1 2 0
Wooten 1 2 1 1 0 2
Davis (S) 1 0 0 0 0 2
PB -- Ham. HBP -- by Sasser (Sharpe), by Grice (Worthington), by Fagan (Gourley).
T -- 2:49.
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