Area players help Lenoir CC reach Series
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 23, 2008 4:17 PM
KINSTON -- Summer is more than a month away, but Lenoir Community College baseball coach Stony Wine isn't booking a vacation any time soon.
He is taking his team to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series. The Lancers clinched their fourth berth to the eight-team event with a 5-2 victory over Frederick (Md.) Community College on Tuesday.
Lenoir (51-10 overall) opens play Saturday morning at 9 against Western Oklahoma State. The fourth-ranked Pioneers (52-10) boast a .410 batting average and have clubbed an astounding 144 home runs.
Juan Carlos Perez leads WOS with 37 home runs and is hitting a crisp .469. Also on the team is Danny Almonte, who led his Bronx (N.Y.) team to the 2001 Little League World Series.
Despite Western Oklahoma's staggering offensive numbers and notable names, Wine insists his club is going on more than a sight-seeing tour to Millington, Tenn.
"I'm not going out there for a vacation," said Wine. "I'm going out there to compete and have a strong competition. Power is big part of their game and they can really swing it. We're really going to have to hit our spots when we we're pitching."
Just advancing to the World Series took a bit of resiliency on the part of the Lancers. Frederick thumped LCC 23-5 on Monday to force a winner-take-all game in the Northeast District finals.
"I think we knew we were going to get them," said Wine. "They put it to us and we kind of laughed about that, and I think you have to do that when you get your butt kicked. We just came back and had a good attitude."
Lenoir's success this season has been aided in a large way by an influx of local talent. The Lancers currently have 12 players on their roster who played high school baseball in Wayne County and surrounding areas.
Former Southern Wayne standouts T.J. Hinson and David Combs both earned spots on the district's all-tournament team earlier this week. Hinson earned the American Legion Area I player of the year award after leading Wayne County Post 11 to a runner-up finish in last year's state tournament.
Greene Central alum Drew Sowers was also selected to the all-tournament squad. Sowers' high school teammates Hunter Chase and Lance Murray are each hitting over .300 for the Lancers.
Former Charles B. Aycock relief specialist Brandon Price (1-1) has a 2.63 ERA in 27 innings of work this season. Fellow Aycock graduate Thomas Pilkington has been sidelined with a shoulder injury for several weeks.
Eastern Wayne products Tyler Hamm and Taylor Sutton along with North Lenoir alums Tyler Ginn and Dewitt Pope are also on this year's team.
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