04/25/08 — Wayne Christian picks up WCC victory

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Wayne Christian picks up WCC victory

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 25, 2008 1:48 PM

Wayne Christian baseball coach Tim Brannan had been stressing the importance of game-changing plays all season long.

He finally got his wish Thursday afternoon.

Michael Johnson's bases-loaded, sixth-inning diving catch in center field helped preserve the Eagles' 7-4 victory over Northwood Temple. Wayne Christian (9-2 overall) remained unbeaten in five Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference outings this season.

Northwood had already gotten to Wayne Christian reliever Jeremy Jefferson for a pair of runs in the sixth on Tyler Davis' two-run double. After loading the bases on a hit batsman, Pat Pecora hit a drive to center, which pulled Johnson to his right before he stretched out to grab the fly ball.

"I've been preaching somebody make a play that's gonna win a game," Brannan said. "That was a game-saving catch. We had a chance to beat Waccamaw, the No. 2 team in the state, and we didn't make a catch or two like that.

"That's the difference in a good team and an average team."

Back-to-back singles from Johnson and Travis Thomas, coupled with an error and bases-loaded walk, led to three first-inning runs for Wayne Christian. That erased Northwood's 1-0 advantage.

Two errors led to two, second-inning runs for Wayne Christian. Jefferson's RBI single and another Northwood error extended the homestanding Eagles' advantage to 7-2 after three innings of play.

"Every run in a game like that is very, very important," Tim Brannan said. "I certainly felt like we were one hit away from giving up a little of that cushion going into that last inning."

Adam Brannan (5-1) earned the mound win, giving up two earned runs on five hits and posting five strikeouts in a three-inning stint. Jefferson finished in relief.

"That's the mark of a good pitcher when he comes out and he doesn't have his stuff and his arm didn't feel live today and you still give me four innings," Tim Brannan said. "I thought between Adam and Jeremy they did really well today."

Wayne Christian visits Johnston Christian at 4 p.m. today.