Wayne County teams fall in opening round
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on July 13, 2007 1:48 PM
The Wayne County National All-Stars had four chances to dump New Bern into the losers' bracket Thursday evening.
New Bern refused to go quietly.
Trailing 6-3 with two outs in the sixth inning, New Bern forged a 6-6 tie. It eventually pulled ahead and prevailed 7-6 on opening day of the Eastern N.C. Cal Ripken 12U State tournament at the Eastern Carolina Athletic Park.
"It was a very frustrating loss, but we battled all game long," said Wayne County coach Rod Brown.
It was quite a turnaround against a team that had its own comeback, thanks to the bats of Dylan Smith and Jacob Sasser. Smith batted 3-for-4 with two RBI and swiped two bases. His third-inning RBI single pulled Wayne County within 3-2.
Sasser, who hits after Smith, deposited a pitch deep over the center field wall off New Bern pitcher Josh Taylor. The two-run shot pushed Wayne County ahead 4-3.
Later in the inning, Josh Edwards executed the suicide squeeze to perfection as he reached and brought Zach Harrell home to make it 5-3 in the Nationals' favor.
"Things looked good after that," said Brown. "But we just had a few minor lapses. Enough to turn the tide."
Reliever Ben Roth seemed to be in command with a three-run cushion. After retiring the first two of the first three batters in the sixth, Roth got into trouble with an errant pick-off throw to first base.
Taylor reached third and scored on a wild pitch. Durant Mangum singles and Si Gillikin walked, which chased Roth from the mound. Reed Howell relieved Roth and yielded a run on passed ball.
Pinch-hitter Syril Smith provided the game's biggest hit, a game-tying single that scored Gillikin.
Wayne County tried its best to avoid an extra-inning affair in its half of the sixth. Adam Pate walked and stole second and third base with one out.
Roth drew a walk, but New Bern reliever Andrew Reid retired Smith and Sasser to difuse the Nationals' final threat.
"We had our top hitter at the plate and he got a tough pitch to handle," said Brown.
A wild pitch in the seventh inning allowed the eventual winning run to come across for New Bern and turn a oncepromising night for Wayne County into a heart-wrenching loss.
The Nationals (0-1) face Dare County in an elimination game at 4 p.m. today.
"We'll be alright," said Brown. "We'll battle back and win two tomorrow."
New Bern 102 003 1 -- 7 6 2
Wayne Co. Nationals 104 100 0 -- 6 8 4
Leading Hitters -- New Bern -- Jessie Bishop 2-3; Josh Taylor 1-3, HR, RBI; Syril Smith 1-1, RBI. Wayne County -- Dylan Smith 3-4, 2 RBI; Ashton Cox 2-3; Jacob Sasser 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Josh Edwards 1-2, RBI.
LOB -- New Bern 10, Wayne Co. 6. SB -- Taylor 3, Reid 2, Pate 2, Roth 2, Smith 2, Barnes. S -- Raymor.
IP H R ER BB SO
Taylor 3 7 5 4 2 2
Gillikin 2 1 1 1 0 3
S. Smith 1/3 0 0 0 3 1
Reid (W) 1 2/3 0 0 0 0 1
D. Smith 3 2 3 2 4 3
Roth 2 2/3 2 3 3 4 1
Howell (L) 1/3 2 1 1 1 1
Harrell 1 0 0 0 1 1
WP -- Taylor 2, Gillikin, D. Smith, Roth, Harrell. PB -- Cox 3, Bishop.
WC American falls
West Raleigh peppered Wayne County American's pitching staff for 20 hits and secured a 24-1, four-inning victory during opening-round play.
West Raleigh sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning and logged 11 runs in the scorebook.
"We had a good opening game," said West Raleigh coach Vann Stephenson. "We're a pretty good offensive team."
Every West Raleigh hitter recorded at least one hit, led by Brian Fortier who was 3-for-4 with four RBI and Graham Edwards who two double and a home run.
"They're in a whole different league," said Wayne County coach Steve Wells. "They cut like 150 kids at their tryouts. We didn't have 150 kids in our entire league.
"They were very talented."
Kyle Walker provided one of the lone bright spots for Wayne County when he launched the first pitch in the bottom of the first for a solo home run. He would later add another hit and a stolen base.
Wayne County now must play an elimination game today at 4 p.m. Wells hopes his team will have a short memory and come out ready to play.
"I told the kids to wash this game out of your mind," he said. "It's one game. Come back tomorrow ready to play."
West Raleigh (11)53 5 -- 24 20 0
Wayne Co. Americans 100 0 -- 1 3 5
Leading Hitters -- West Raleigh -- Brian Fortier 3-4, 4 RBI; Graham Edwards 3-4, 2 2B, HR, RBI; Kirk Stephenson 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Addison Braswell 1-2, HR, 3 RBI; Alex Malinsky 2-4, RBI; Sean Rudio 1-4, HR, RBI; Zack Layne 1-1, 2B, RBI; Ryan Byrd 1-2, 2 RBI; Brett Hudspeth 1-3, 2 RBI; Tyler Hutt 2-3, RBI. Wayne Co. -- Kyle Walker 1-2, HR, RBI; John Winslow 1-1.
LOB -- West Raleigh 3, Wayne Co. 4. SB -- Stephenson, Magallanes, Walker.
IP H R ER BB SO
Braswell 1 1 1 1 2 0
Rudio (W) 1 0 0 0 0 0
Fortier 1 1 0 0 0 2
Holt 1 1 0 0 1 2
Wayne Co. Nationals
Lancaster (L) 2 13 16 14 3 2
Winslow 2 7 8 8 3 0
WP -- Braswell, Holt, Lancaster. PB -- Howard.
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