Post 11 secures home playoff contest
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on July 7, 2008 1:50 PM
KINSTON - Wayne County Post 11 head coach Brad Reaves challenged his players following a disappointing loss to Durham last week.
On Sunday in Kinston the team responded with their most complete effort of the season, and defeated Post 43 8-0. The victory guarantees Wayne County will start the playoffs at home on Thursday.
"I think this was our most complete game, as far as pitching and defense, it was our best," Reaves said. "I don't think anyone showed up to play in that game against Durham... tonight was a whole different attitude."
Wayne County jumped out of the gate thanks to a leadoff double from Tyler Edwards. Walker Gourley and John Wooten both followed with singles, but Post 11 failed to score when Edwards was thrown out at the plate and Jay Rose bounced into a double play.
In the second inning Wayne County got on the board thanks to more hot hitting. Zach Wright was hit by a pitch in front of a Thomas Pilkington single. Nolan Lancaster then followed by fighting off a two-strike offering, which advanced the runners.
Adron Hollowell plated the game's first run with a groundout. Alex Casey and Edwards each followed with run-scoring singles.
"I thought the guys at the bottom of order really set the tone tonight," Reaves said. "Alex Casey always sees a lot of pitches, Hollowell was on base three times and Nolan Lancaster did a good job with a couple of big at-bats early on."
The 3-0 lead would be more than enough for Post 11 starter Michael Douglas, who commanded four different pitches and consistently changed speeds. Coming off of two poor outings, the Southern Wayne High School product found his curveball early and used it to keep Kinston hitters at bay.
"Douglas was great tonight, much better than he has been lately," Reaves said. "He had four pitches working in the zone and really it looked like he had about seven pitches because he changed speeds so well."
The right-hander ran into his first trouble in the seventh when Carter Capps and Billy Dudding delivered back-to-back singles after two men were out.
Rose took the mound for the final two-plus innings, and provided brilliant support of Douglas' sterling start.
Ahead 4-0 Wayne County added two more marks in the seventh inning, when Wright belted a Brandon Sutton offering over the left field fence. The final two insurance runs came in the eighth inning on a double by Wooten.
"We didn't hit the ball with men in scoring position like we have been lately," said Reaves. "We left a small village on the bases, but we did enough to win and that's what counts."
The victory improves Post 11's record to 5-3 in the division (15-4 overall) and creates a three-way tie at the top of the Area I East Division standings. Thanks to a season sweep of Kinston Post 43, Wayne County will receive the number one playoff seed when the tournament starts later this week.
Wayne County will host either Tarboro or Ahoskie at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
"We're the top seed, but we know that we can't sleep on anyone," Reaves said. "The guys played hard tonight and we need to keep that up no matter who we play in the first round... the season basically starts over with everyone on even ground."
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