08/02/07 — Late rally lifts Post 11

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Late rally lifts Post 11

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 2, 2007 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A newcomer and second-year player each provided clutch hits as Wayne County Post 11 continued its remarkable unbeaten playoff run Wednesday evening.

Connor Narron's seventh-inning RBI double and John Wooten's eighth-inning RBI single helped Post 11 seize a 3-2 decision over Durham Post 7 in game one of the Area I Championship series. Wayne County extended its win streak to nine games and moved within one victory of taking its sixth Area I crown since 1984.

Game two in the best-of-three series is 7 p.m. Friday at Durham Athletic Park. A third contest, if necessary, is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday at Mount Olive College.

Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Nolan Lancaster laced a one-out single into left field. After a pop-up in foul territory, the left-handed Narron slapped Barrett Stover's first pitch deep to right field. It was just Narron's third extra-base hit and fifth RBI of the season.

Stover induced an inning-ending groundout to keep the contest tied at 2-2.

In the eighth, Jackson Massey drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second when Post 7 reliever Tyler Robinson intentionally walked Garrett Davis. The ploy backfired when Wooten (2-for-4) delivered his team-leading 29th RBI on a single into left center field.

Massey raced home for the 3-2 advantage.

"Connor got a huge knock," said Post 11 coach Brad Reaves. "John has been big for us all year."

But those late-inning timely hits were a stark contrast compared to the first six innings. Wayne County (22-4 overall) put seven runners aboard and hit into a pair of inning-ending double plays.

Stover limited Post 11 to three hits, including Wooten's third-inning RBI.

"I told them in the second or third inning that we needed to sit back because he's not going to knock it out of your hands with his fastball," said Reaves. "He was just tearing us up with that changeup and we were just looking to pull everything instead of going with the pitch.

"That's how they had their big inning. They made a great adjustment on Garrett. With somebody throwing real soft or somebody throwing hard, you go the other way. That's what we didn't do."

Davis notched 10 strikeouts and yielded two hits through four innings. The right-hander, however, got in trouble in the fifth when he couldn't adjust to the umpire's accordian-like strike zone.

Patrick Kerwin started Durham's two-run uprising with a lead-off triple into the right center alley. He scored one out later on Lucas Martin's single to shallow right center.

Davis, who had a 0.00 ERA coming into the game, surrendered his second run on Nick Mangili's single to right field. Post 7's Jacob Ezell, who singled, attempted to take third on the play, but was gunned down by right fielder Jackson Massey.

Davis ended the inning with a strikeout.

Post 7 put the game-tying run aboard in the eighth and ninth innings. Post 11 reliever T.J. Hinson (7-2) recorded three straight outs after giving up a lead-off walk in the eighth. Wooten turned a phenomenal back-breaking double play in the ninth to silence Durham's final comeback attempt.

"T.J. is good for ground balls and we're going to play the gloves pretty good anyway," said Reaves.

The series winner faces either Cherryville or Caldwell County in next week's N.C. Senior American Legion state tournament in Garner. Wayne County is making its second state appearance during Reaves' tenure as head coach.

"I'll win ugly over losing pretty any day," said Reaves, whose team managed just six hits. "You want some momentum going into the state tournament, but tonight is not going to give us a whole lot of momentum.

"We are better hitters than we showed. I know we can play with anybody if we make adjustments (at the plate)."

Durham 000 020 000 -- 2 7 0

Wayne Co. 000 100 11x -- 3 6 1

Leading hitters -- Durham -- Lucas Martin 1-4, RBI; Jacob Ezzell 1-3; Nick Mangili 1-3, RBI; Seth Moorman 2-4; Patrick Kerwin 1-4, 3B. Wayne County -- Jackson Massey 1-2; John Wooten 2-4, 2 RBI; Connor Narron 1-2, 2B, RBI.

DP -- Durham 2, Wayne County 1. LOB -- Durham 7, Wayne County 6. SB -- Massey, Gourley, Diala. SH -- Mangili, Falcon.


Durham Post 7

Stover 7 5 2 2 3 6

Robinson (L) 1 1 1 1 2 0

Wayne County Post 11

Davis 6 6 2 2 1 13

Sasser 1 0 0 0 0 1

Hinson (W, 7-2) 2 1 0 0 1 1

WP -- Robinson. HBP -- by Hinson (Falcon).

T -- 2:02.