07/10/07 — Greene County nearly pulls off comeback

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Greene County nearly pulls off comeback

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 10, 2007 1:48 PM

When a team commits 10 errors and manages just three hits, it shouldn't come close to winning a ball game.

Greene County nearly made it happen Monday evening. But Wayne County reliever Dante Arthur had other thoughts. The right-hander threw a perfect seventh and Wayne County escaped 10-8 on the Eastern Carolina Athletic Park diamond.

Wayne County grabbed a 1-0 lead in the Eastern N.C. Babe Ruth 15U District 4 best-of-three series, which continues today. Game time is 6 p.m. and if Greene County wins, the teams will play again 30 minutes after the first contest.

Errors, walks, wild pitches and passed balls plagued both teams in the sweltering, humid atmosphere. The teams combined for 12 errors and 15 walks. Greene County used two pitchers, while Wayne County rendered the services of four hurlers in the 2-hour, 31-minute affair.

Wayne County led 10-1 after 51/2 innings, but Greene Central staged an almost-miraculous comeback. Right-hander Nick Hatem walked the first three batters he faced on 16 pitches and prompted a visit from Wayne County coach Joe Bailey.

Hatem hustled back to the infield and Arthur took over. He coerced Ross Johnson into a routine ground ball, but the defense failed to make the play behind him. Two runs crossed.

Greene County pulled within 10-8 on two hits, a passed ball and wild pitch five batters later.

"I think the heat started getting to them and they started to fall apart," said Bailey. "When you've got a 10-1 lead, you think you've got the game won and they kind of got relaxed.

"We gave up a little bit and that's when it almost came back to haunt us."

After yielding the final run on a wild pitch, Arthur retired two of the next three batters he faced. He notched a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, which gave the mound victory to Jimmy Kearney, who threw four innings of one-hit shutout relief behind starter Steven Carlton.

"Dante finally settled down, relaxed and threw the ball like he knew how to do," said Bailey. "He did an outstanding job."

Wayne County seized a 3-0 lead in the first inning on two hits, three Greene County errors and a passed ball. Bailey's team added two runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and three in the sixth.

Kearney batted 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Hatem (RBI) and Silas Denlinger contributed two hits apiece. Reserves Tom Sanders and Jimmy Joyner each supplied a hit.

Wes Sowers, David Stallings and Kyle McLawhorn each collected a hit for Greene County.

Wayne County 300 223 0 -- 10 10 2

Greene County 010 007 0 -- 8 3 10

Leading hitters -- Wayne County -- Nick Hatem 2-5, RBI; Dominick Arthur 1-2; Jimmy Kearney 3-3, 2B, RBI; Silas Denlinger 2-3; Jimmy Joyner 1-1, RBI; Michael Johnson 1-3, RBI. Greene County -- Wes Sowers 1-4, RBI; David Stallings 1-3, 2 RBI; Kyle McLawhorn 1-2.

DP -- Wayne County 1. LOB -- Wayne County 9, Greene County 7. SB -- Hatem, Denlinger.


Wayne County

Carlton 1 0 1 1 4 0

Kearney (W, 1-0) 4 1 0 0 2 5

Hatem 0 0 3 3 3 0

Da. Arthur (S, 1) 2 2 4 3 2 3

Greene County

Grant (L, 0-1) 4 6 7 2 2 2

Nethercutt 3 4 3 2 2 3

WP -- Grant, Nethercutt, Da. Arthur 2. PB -- Murray, Weaver.

T -- 2:31.