03/12/08 — Warrior's Wooten slugs two home runs

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Warrior's Wooten slugs two home runs

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 12, 2008 3:00 PM

DUDLEY -- Eastern Wayne head baseball coach Jabo Fulghum, despite his team's early-season misgivings, knew a tough non-conference slate had prepared them for Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play.

If Tuesday's performance against archrival Southern Wayne is any indication of Fulghum's conviction, he certainly isn't joking about his team's ability.

The Warriors smashed four home runs and Michael Mintz tossed six solid innings in an 11-2 conquest of the Saints.

John Wooten's first-inning, three-run homer fueled an Eastern Wayne offense that collected 11 hits and scored in five of seven innings.

Southern Wayne (3-2 overall, 0-1 ECC) responded in the bottom of the first with Jordan Williams' RBI single and Cody Davis later scored on an error.

Wooten left the park again in the top of the third and Tyler Wicks followed with a solo shot to left. The Warriors (3-3, 1-0) pushed a run across in both the fourth and fifth innings before turning three hits and three walks into four runs in the sixth.

Wooten finished 3-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored. Wicks, Nolan Lancaster and Walker Gourley each had two hits.

"Our boys were ready to play today," Fulghum said. "We swung the bats. Both home runs John hit today were good pitches. He just kept his hands back and drove the baseball. I'm proud of our team."

Mintz didn't allow a run after the first inning, surrendered four hits, struck out four, walked four and retired the last six batters he faced.

"I thought Mintz settled in there toward the middle innings and found the strike zone a little bit," Fulghum said. "He's had some good outings. He threw the ball well today."

Reliever Anthony Otellio threw a scoreless seventh.

The Saints victimized themselves with three errors in the first four innings.

'We gave them five, six and seven outs an inning," Saints head coach Trae McKee said. "We got in some predictable counts against some good hitters and we paid the price for it. This was atypical of this club. We had played really good defense up to this point."

Southern Wayne also left nine runners on base, including seven in the first four innings. The Saints trailed 6-2 at that point.

"We've still got to find a way to extend innings," McKee said. "We'll get a couple of guys on and we're not getting a good quality at-bat through the lineup. We had a chance when it was 5-2 or 6-2 to extend the inning or scratch across a run. We just need somebody to step up."

Williams went 2 for 2 with an RBI, a run scored, two walks and a stolen base.

Eastern Wayne entertains ECC foe Wilson Hunt on Friday and Southern Wayne plays host to Wilson Beddingfield. Both games begin at 5 p.m.