06/27/08 — Wright's eighth-inning homer starts Post 11's rally

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Wright's eighth-inning homer starts Post 11's rally

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 27, 2008 1:54 PM

DUDLEY -- Wayne County Post 11 rose from the dreaded depths of despair with a stirring, eighth-inning comeback Thursday evening.

Zach Wright's solo home run ignited a seven-run uprising as Post 11 triumphed 11-9 over Pitt County 39 on the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex diamond.

"The offense was horrible until the eighth," said Post 11 head coach Brad Reaves.

Trailing 9-4 and seemingly headed for its fourth Area I East South Division loss of the season, Wayne County (9-3 overall) got a reprieve against Pitt 39 reliever Aaron Roberson. The right-hander struggled to find the strike zone in the eighth inning and allowed five of six batters he faced to reach base.

After Wright's homer, Thomas Pilkington reached on an infield error. Bryant Hill drew a one-out walk and Alex Casey laid down a perfect bunt that stalled just inside fair territory down the third-base line.

Tyler Edwards (2-for-5, two RBI) sent Roberson packing with a two-RBI single. After a pitching change, Walker Gourley (2-for-4, two RBI) drove in Casey with a single and John Wooten knotted the game at 9-9 with an RBI sacrifice fly to center field.

Jay Rose delivered the game-winning hit, an RBI double into the left center-field gap to score Gourley. Rose (2-for-4, two RBI) capped the surge by scoring on a wild pitch.

"Jay had a great night at the plate," said Reaves. "I thought he was the only one who had an idea of what he was doing up there. He was the only one who I thought was really locked in at the plate."

Wayne County (3-3 South Division) played ghastly on offense until the eighth. Reaves' team batted a paltry 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position through the first four innings.

Post 11 left four runners aboard, including two at third base during that stretch.

"We came in tonight with the attitude that we had three games to go (in division play)," said Post 11 coach Brad Reaves. "We're dragging around, had our lips out and went away from what we had been doing well at the plate.

"I don't know how many pitches we swung at chest-high tonight and took ourselves right out of it."

Wayne County's slim one-run advantage quickly disappeared in the fourth when Pitt 39 left fielder Patrick Roy, the No. 9 batter, connected on a grand slam. Post 11 right-hander Adron Hollowell threw six first-pitch strikes to nine batters he faced, but couldn't induce the out.

Hollowell and relievers Michael Douglas and Wooten combined to throw first-pitch strikes to 24 of 47 batters. However, their decision making after getting ahead in the count drew Reaves' ire.

"We made great two-strike pitches with one strike and no strikes (in the count)," said Reaves. "Then we throw the ball over the plate with two strikes when we don't have any business doing it right there. We made some terrible two-strike pitches."

Pitt County 39 extended its lead to 9-4 in the seventh inning on Josh Hudson's two-out, two-RBI double and Ethan Powell's RBI single. Douglas, who yielded four earned runs on five hits in three innings, gave way to Wooten in the eighth.

Wooten supplied two innings of three-strikeout, one-hit relief and earned the mound win.

Post 11 begins a two-game weekend roadswing Saturday at Area I East member Edgecombe County Post 316. Reaves' team visits Pitt County 160 for a critical South Division contest on Sunday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.