08/07/07 — Post 11 prepares for state tournament

View Archive

Post 11 prepares for state tournament

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 7, 2007 1:48 PM

GARNER -- After a two-year absence from the N.C. American Legion State tournament, Wayne County Post 11 takes its youngest team to the double-elimination event which begins Wednesday in Garner.

Wayne County, the Area I champion with 11 newcomers on its roster, puts its 10-game win streak on the line against Area IV runner-up Caldwell County. Game time is 12:30 p.m. on the Garner Senior High diamond.

In other opening-round games, defending state champion Morehead City opposes Rowan County at 9:30 a.m., Durham faces tournament favorite Cherryville at 4:30 p.m. and Garner takes on Randolph County at 7:30 p.m.

Admission for the Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday sessions is $8. Tickets are $10 on Friday and a tournament pass is available for $40. Children under 12 will be admitted free.

Bleachers will be provided, but fans are reminded to bring lawn chairs and drink plenty of water. Weather forecasts call for temperatures to reach 100 degrees with a heat index projected at least 5-10 degrees higher.

Fifth-year Post 11 skipper Brad Reaves didn't expect to make a state-tournament appearance this season. With so many new faces and concerns about the offense, he would have settled for a strong showing in Area I East Division play.

Wayne County (23-4 overall), instead, plowed through the Area I East Division playoffs without a loss. Strong pitching outings from Garrett Davis and Brandon Price helped Post 11 claim its first Area I championship since 2004 and sixth overall since 1984.

"Everything we've done to this point is gravy," Reaves said before the Area I championship series against Durham Post 7.

Seven Post 11 batters are hitting .310 or higher heading into Wednesday's contest. Seven starters have contributed 12 or more hits during the 27-game campaign, and six have pounded out least eight or more extra-base hits.

Shortstop Walker Gourley, a second-year player, leads the team in three categories -- average (.388), hits (47) and extra-base knocks (10). He's second on the team with 26 RBI behind John Wooten, who has 31.

Wayne County's pitching staff has logged a 3.17 ERA this season. T.J. Hinson has collected a team-leading seven wins and has the second-lowest ERA (1.44) behind North Carolina signee Garrett Davis (0.64). Davis allowed his first two earned runs during the Area I finals against Durham.

Post 11 is 5-6 overall in three previous state-tournament trips. The program's best finish was a second-place effort in 2000 with former head coach Doyle Whitfield.