07/22/07 — Unorthodox finish helps Wayne County Post 11

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Unorthodox finish helps Wayne County Post 11

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 22, 2007 2:01 AM


EDENTON -- A seventh-inning ejection and lack of bench players troubled Edenton Post 40 and proved fruitful for Wayne County Post 11 on Saturday evening.

Leading 3-2 in the seventh, Edenton loaded the bases on a single and two hit batsmen. Judd Whitehead flied out to center field and Post 11's Nolan Lancaster threw a perfect strike to catcher Tyler Ham.

Gabriel Brickhouse charged home and bowled over Ham, who blocked the plate. The umpire ruled Brickhouse lowered his shoulder, which resulted in an automatic ejection. Brickhouse, according to the rulebook, must make an attempt to evade the tag.

Earlier in the inning, the Edenton coaching staff -- despite having just one bench reserve -- elected to substitute their second baseman. Brickhouse's ejection, surmised the umpire, caused a shortage of substitutes and said Post 40 must forfeit the contest. A team must have nine players on the field to finish a game.

Wayne County (17-4 overall) received a 1-0 decision and grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in the Area I East semifinal-round, best-of-five series. The teams meet again today at 7 p.m. in Edenton.

Jackson Massey's third-inning, lead-off home run -- his first in postseason play -- gave Post 11 a 1-0 lead.

Edenton, the Area I East runner-up last season, responded with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Wayne County pulled within 3-2 in the seventh on Thomas Pilkington's RBI single down the third-base line.

The score stood until Brickhouse's ejection.

Game 1

MOUNT OLIVE -- Grant Sasser looked like his old self Friday evening.

The crafty left-hander threw an effective curveball and held Edenton scoreless for six-plus innings in a 6-1 triumph at Scarborough Field. Sasser, in his fourth start, earned his first decision in his longest outing of the season.

"I thought he had better stuff against New Bern, but we played for him tonight," said Post 11 skipper Brad Reaves. "He really pitched tonight."

Sasser (1-1) allowed base runners in four innings and benefited from a near-flawless defense. Post 11 turned a 6-4-3 double play in the opening inning and catcher Zack Wright gunned down Landon Jordan, who attempted to steal second base in the fifth.

Post 40 managed just three hits. Mount Olive College signee Joseph Westbrook doubled in the seventh, reached third on a fielding error and scored on Kirk Higgins' sacrifice fly.

Despite hitting into three double plays, Wayne County unveiled a few offensive fireworks in the fourth inning. Post 11 manufactured six runs off four hits, two stolen bases and three Edenton errors.

First baseman Jay Rose delivered a key at-bat after Garrett Davis reached on an error and John Wooten singled into shallow center field. Rose coerced Post 40 right-hander Judd Whitehead to throw 10 pitches, which led to a walk.

"Super at-bat by Jay," said Reaves. "He got in there and fouled off some balls. That was big because I told them we needed to get into their bullpen since they have just nine players (here)."

Will Edgerton, Nolan Lancaster, Connor Narron (2-for-4), Jackson Massey and Walker Gourley each provided RBI at-bats during the six-run uprising. Whitehead exited after the inning and reliever Dusty Todd supplied four innings of no-hit, three-strikeout relief.

Post 11 right-hander Brandon Price replaced Sasser after the seventh and retired all six batters he faced. Price struck out the side in the eighth and induced three ground-ball outs in the ninth for his first-ever Legion playoff save.

Game 1

Edenton 000 000 100 -- 1 3 4

Wayne Co. 000 600 00x -- 6 6 1

Leading hitters -- Edenton -- Joseph Westbrook 1-4, 2B; Judd Whitehead 1-2; Gabriel Brickhouse 1-1; Kirk Higgins RBI. Wayne County -- Connor Narron 2-4, RBI; Jackson Massey 1-4, RBI; Walker Gourley 1-4, RBI; John Wooten 1-4; Will Edgerton 1-2.

DP -- Edenton 3, Wayne County 1. LOB -- Edenton 3, Wayne County 8. SB -- Davis, Wooten. CS -- Jordan. SF -- Higgins.



Whitehead (L) 4 6 6 3 3 1

Todd 4 0 0 0 4 3

Wayne County

Sasser (W, 1-1) 7 3 1 1 2 3

Price (S, 1) 2 0 0 0 0 3

WP -- Whitehead 2. HBP -- by Whitehead (Davis).

T -- 2:13.