Eastern Wayne puts together complete game versus archrival
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 6, 2008 4:50 AM
Eastern Wayne proved its coming together at the perfect time on Friday evening.
Timely hitting, strong relief pitching and good situational defense helped Eastern Wayne turn back county arch-rival Southern Wayne 5-2 on the New Hope diamond.
The Warriors (10-5 overall) remained tied atop the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference standings at 5-1 with county foe Charles B. Aycock. The Saints endured their third ECC setback of the season.
John Wooten doubled home Walker Gourley to give Eastern Wayne a 1-0 lead. Southern Wayne forged a 1-1 tie in the third, but quickly fell behind in the bottom half of the inning.
Jeff Hill ignited a three-run rally when Saints hurler Raymond Valasquez hit him in the chin. One out later, Gourley belted a home run over the center-field fence to make it 3-1.
Nolan Lancaster singled and moved to third on an errant throw. Tyler Wicks reached on an error and Lancaster scampered home for the three-run cushion.
The Saints staged a fifth-inning comeback attempt.
Jordan Hood's single turned into the visitors' second run. Starting pitcher Michael Mintz got into a bases-loaded jam and Warriors head coach Jabo Fulghum called Wooten to the mound. The right-hander halted the scoring threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
"John did a great job when he came on," said Fulghum. "Mintz had a good fastball all night, and when we needed to go to John he was there. That's what a team is all about."
Southern Wayne used a spectacular defensive play from center fielder Ricky Oddon to keep the game within reach in the bottom of the fifth. Sprinting to his right, Oddon dove and snared a line drive. He held onto the ball while tumbling toward the left field fence.
The Saints never got another offensive chance however, due to Wooten's ability to strike out six of the eight batters he faced.
"Our guys came out and battled for seven innings," Fulghum said. "They had it in their eyes tonight that we were going to play well, and I think we are finally starting to gel.
"We manufactured some runs, Walker hit the big two-run shot, and we bounced back from a few early defensive blunders. I was pretty pleased overall with how we played."
The Warriors swept the regular-season series from the Saints.
"We have to play each conference game one at a time," said Fulghum. "Next week we have an open week with no conference games, so we will be able to work on some things."
Eastern Wayne visits Spring Creek on Monday, while Southern Wayne (8-6) welcomes West Craven.
"Tonight Raymond did everything we could have asked him to do on the mound, he moved the ball in and out, and pitched pretty well," said Saints coach Trae McKee. "Right now we are a team in search of an identity. We need to step up and get the big hit when we have guys on."
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