03/02/08 — Hawks edge Warriors in extra innings

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Hawks edge Warriors in extra innings

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 2, 2008 2:01 AM

Jim Montague was privileged enough to witness a sight on Friday evening most head coaches dream of experiencing more often.

Montague got to witness his club grow up a little bit.

North Lenoir trailed host Eastern Wayne 5-1 after four frigid innings. But the Hawks (1-1 overall) tied the game in the fifth and won 6-5 as Bryce Grady trotted home on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning.

Reliever C.C. Croom threw two shutout innings to earn the win.

"We're a different ball club than we have been," said Montague, who guided the Hawks to state titles in 2005 and 2006. "We graduated nine seniors last year and six of them are playing college ball. Some of these guys are going to have to step up and grow up fast.

"C.C.'s the guy we want to try to close games."

Eastern Wayne (0-2) succumbed to defensive miscues for the second consecutive outing. A ninth-inning error, which could have led to an inning-ending double play, kept the Hawks in business.

"We just didn't play good defense," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "We didn't play good defense the first game. If we don't play good defense we're not going to win."

Grady got the scoring started in North Lenoir's half of the fifth with an RBI double to right. Mike Wethington followed with an RBI single and Tyler Potter's two-run homer to center tied the game at 5-5.

The momentum shifted more when Hawks reliever Matt Kennedy wiggled out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning.

"That was big because it got some excitement back in the dugout," Montague said. "We came into tonight's ballgame and this was a measuring stick."

Potter's RBI double got the Hawks on the board in the top of the first.

The Warriors responded in the home half of the second as Jeff Hill and Walker Gourley both drove in runs. Jose Ponce's infield single in the third plated Josh Wooten and stretched the Eastern Wayne lead to 3-1. Ponce finished the game 2-for-3.

Hill (2-for-3, 2 RBI) tacked on a solo homer in the fourth and Wooten (3-for-3) supplied an RBI single.

Grady (RBI) and Potter (three RBI) led the Hawks with two hits apiece. Mike Wethington added a single and an RBI.