05/06/08 — C.B. Aycock wins round three

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C.B. Aycock wins round three

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 6, 2008 1:50 PM

Charles B. Aycock grabbed some much-needed momentum for the state playoffs, while Eastern Wayne finds itself in a regrouping mode.

The second-seeded Golden Falcons erupted for seven, third-inning runs and rallied for a 13-4 victory in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament final Monday evening.

The loss snapped the top-seeded Warriors' 14-game win streak.

C.B. Aycock, the defending N.C. High School Athletic Association state champion, opens the playoffs at home Friday against Oxford Webb. Eastern Wayne (19-6 overall) will entertain a wild-card opponent, which will be determined Wednesday, the same evening. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

John Wooten's three-run homer in the bottom of the first and Tyler Wicks' solo shot put the Warriors on top 4-0.

The Golden Falcons bounced back with three runs in the top of the second. Jonathan Taylor, Stephen Strouse and Jackson Wooten all delivered RBI singles off the Warriors' Wooten.

Wooten allowed three straight singles to start the top of the third. Connor Narron scored on an error to tie the game at 4-4. Strouse delivered a run-scoring groundout and another Warriors' error extended Aycock's lead to 6-4.

"If you don't play good defense, you're not going to win," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "We didn't play good defense tonight. We were awful. If you're going to beat the good teams, you've got to play good defense."

Bryant Hill's sacrifice bunt scored Strouse and Will Edgerton capped the seven-run third with a two-run homer to center that chased Wooten from the mound. Wooten allowed 10 runs (eight earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts and no walks in 2 2/3 innings of work.

"I've been doing this now for 18 years and this group right here has accomplished a lot this year," said Golden Falcons head coach Charles Davis. "People thought this was going to be a down year for us and didn't give us a lot of credit. These guys continue to amaze me and they stayed in the ballgame. We had big hits up and down the lineup."

After a shaky first inning Golden Falcons' starter Eric DuBose (8-2) settled in and shut out the Warriors for the final six innings. The sophomore left-hander gave up four runs (all earned) on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts, and won his third consecutive start.

"Eric, once he got over the initial shock and got the ball down in the strike zone, he got people out," Davis said. "His confidence has grown since his first start against Eastern Wayne when he got beat and that was probably seven or eight weeks ago. After that it's grown a lot.

"In front of a packed house here, for him to get lit up and we're down 4-0 ... to stand out there on that mound and gut it up, I'm glad to have him for two more years."

Strouse's two-run homer to center in the top of the fourth stretched Aycock's advantage to 12-4. The senior second baseman finished 2-for-2 with four RBI. Narron's RBI single in the seventh completed Aycock's 13 hit performance.

The Golden Falcons (18-6) improved to 6-0 in ECC tournament play.

Regular-season ECC champion Eastern Wayne goes after the program's first playoff victory with Fulghum as head coach on Friday. Ace Michael Mintz, still unbeaten in his varsity career, will get the mound start.

"We've got to bounce back and show some character," said Fulghum. "I'm disappointed. We've got to forget this game. The next season is getting ready to start. We've got to forget this game and go from there. We need a gut check."