05/11/08 — Eagles give Chargers suprising wake-up call

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Eagles give Chargers suprising wake-up call

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 11, 2008 2:01 AM

A near-disastrous start turned into a quick -- and favorable -- ending for the Wayne Country Day baseball team Friday afternoon.

The Chargers obliged Northwood Temple with first-inning mistakes and fell behind 3-0 before their first at-bat. But once the defending state champions limited their miscues, the upset-minded Eagles hardly posed a challenge.

Wayne Country Day exploded for 12 runs on 15 hits during two-plus innings and claimed a 13-3 victory in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs. The seventh-seeded Chargers continue play Tuesday at Kerr-Vance Academy.

Game time is 6 p.m.

"I think our boys came in a little too confident after watching their infield-outfield (warm-up)," said WCDS head coach Michael Taylor. "We were a little lackadaisical and certainly not focused in the first couple of innings. When they got those three runs, the guys realized that 'hey, we're in a ballgame.'"

Eight of nine starters recorded at least one or more base knocks in the Chargers' season-high 18-hit attack. Cory Robert went 4-for-4 with three RBI, while Cameron Strickland added three hits and three RBI.

Ryan Ford, Cole Davis, Kevin Herring, David Wilson and Hil Tanner cranked out two hits apiece. The quintet combined for seven RBI and two doubles in the mercy rule-shortened contest.

"The past couple of games, it's taken us awhile to get started," said Taylor. "After the second inning, everybody came focused at the plate and were determined to get the job done. That third inning we really started swinging the bats, got some timely hits."

Northwood (9-9 overall) parlayed a catcher's interference, two errors, a hit batsman and three hits into three first-inning runs. While the catcher's interference didn't upset Taylor, it was an errant throw on a swinging bunt and an outfield bobble that ignited his temper.

Taylor expressed his discontent between innings and the Eagles never threatened again. WCDS right-hander Kevin Herring threw a perfect second and fourth inning, and retired six consecutive batters during one stretch.

"After that first inning, Kevin really settled down," said Taylor. "He didn't have his best stuff today, by any means. But he threw the ball across the plate and relied on his defense."

Herring permitted six hits and logged five strikeouts.

Northwood Temple, the Carolina Christian Conference runner-up, turned an inning-ending, bases-loaded double play in the first. The Chargers (9-10) nearly ran themselves out of a run-scoring chance in the second inning when one runner got picked off at first base.

However, with two outs, first-year starter Wilson and eighth-grader Tanner executed a delayed steal. Tanner got hung up between first and second base long enough for Wilson to pull WCDS within 3-1.

"Hil did a good job," said Taylor. "I wasn't worried about giving up that out as long as we got a run across."

The runs came in bunches for the Chargers from that point.

Wayne Country Day sent 25 batters to the plate in the final three innings combined and chased Northwood right-hander Jonathan Wood from the mound. Wilson cranked out a two-RBI double and collected three RBI during that stretch.

Tanner, Strickland and Ford also doubled.

The Chargers picked up their fourth consecutive victory and seventh overall in their last 10 outings.