Post 11 dropped by New Bern
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 17, 2008 1:52 PM
DUDLEY -- Wayne County Post 11 has thrived on late-inning comebacks during its 6-0 start this season.
The trend momentarily ended Monday evening.
New Bern Post 24 pieced together four runs in the final three innings and prevailed 9-7 on the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex diamond in Area I East South Division play. Post 24 claimed its second consecutive regular-season victory over Post 11.
Aggressive base running fueled New Bern's late-game charge.
Trailing 7-5 in the seventh inning, Post 24 center fielder Brett Williams dropped a single into left field. Williams coerced Post 11 catcher Zach Wright to overthrow second base on a steal attempt, and wound up at third.
Williams scored on Gabe Brown's sacrifice fly to center field.
In the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Eric Kosco induced a throwing error on a bunt attempt. He moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and scored when Wayne County couldn't turn an inning-ending double play.
"We make the first (out), which is what you're supposed to do, but we mess up the transfer," said Post 11 coach Brad Reaves.
New Bern (6-1 overall, 2-1 Area I East South) seized the lead in the ninth inning. Williams drew a lead-off walk against Post 11 reliever Adron Hollowell, stole second and scored on Shaun Armstrong's double down the right-field line.
Two batters later, Post 24 executed the double steal. Armstrong hustled home as Rod Sawyer got caught in a rundown between first and second base. Post 11, however, couldn't tag Sawyer and New Bern owned a two-run cushion.
"Our second baseman is supposed to come across and cut (the ball) to keep him from going," said Reaves of the double steal. "We can't throw anybody out at second because we haven't had anybody cover the bag all year. When you have somebody like Zach, you give him a chance."
Williams and Armstrong combined to steal four bases. New Bern finished with five swipes against Wright, who has signed with East Carolina.
"You've got a catcher who wants to throw," said Post 24 coach Gary Smith of Wright. "I heard one of the infielders say 'throw him out,' so I figure he's going to throw. He's good enough behind the plate to make you pause (on the steal).
"But I'll take what we got."
New Bern built a 5-0 lead on Williams' first-inning, three-run homer and three second-inning doubles. Wayne County whittled the deficit to 5-3 on Jay Rose's two-RBI, third-inning single.
Tyler Edwards' RBI single and Walker Gourley's two-RBI double ignited a three-run, fourth-inning uprising. Jay Rose extended Wayne County's lead to 7-5 with a solo home run in the fifth.
Post 11's offense shut down from that point. Reaves' team stranded runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings against Post 24 reliever Nate Healy, who permitted just two hits. The lanky right-hander retired the final five batters he faced.
"Healy commands the inside half of the plate," said Smith. "He was throwing his breaking ball enough for a strike where he kept the hitters honest. I think that was the key."
Post 11 cranked out 11 hits, but batted 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position after Rose's home run.
"When we finally did battle back ... fight a little bit, we got the lead and quit," said a disappointed Reaves. "We don't have those shutdown arms any more. We have those 'keep you in the game' arms now."
Wayne County (6-1, 1-1) has less than 24 hours to recover from the loss. Reaves' team is the guest of Pitt County Post 39 today. First pitch is 7 p.m. on the Minges-Overton Athletic Complex diamond behind Pitt Community College.
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