Douglas dominates: Post 11 right-hander tosses complete game
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on July 25, 2008 1:56 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- It was an Area I East finals showdown three days in the making, and in the end the action did not disappoint.
After rain claimed the first two scheduled dates, Wayne County Post 11 picked up a decisive 5-1 victory in the best-of-five series opener over New Bern Post 24 on Thursday evening.
Southern Wayne product Michael Douglas pitched a complete-game, six-hitter and allowed an unearned run. The right-hander's dominance was a pleasant surprise to Post 11 head coach Brad Reaves.
"Michael was great because tonight he 'pitched'," said Reaves. "He is not the kind of guy that can overpower hitters, so he has to pitch within the situation of the game."
Douglas (6-2) has not yielded an earned run in 212/3 innings. He emerged the first Post 11 hurler to record a complete nine-inning outing this season.
Several variables prompted Reaves to keep Douglas on the mound.
"He came to the dugout in the eighth and he told me that he wanted to finish," said Reaves. "He was still under 100 pitches, so I decided to let him try it, and it worked out."
As good as the extra days rest were for Douglas, the layoff may have hampered the Post 11 offense. New Bern starter Gabe Brown fooled Wayne County batters for three innings, but not in the fourth.
Post 11 used a bunt, a misplayed ball and close call to scratch out the game's first run. John Wooten led off the inning with a triple off the center field fence. With one out, Zach Wright was hit by a pitch, which put runners on the corners for Thomas Pilkington.
Pilkington laid down a bunt and raced down the line as Wooten charged toward the plate. Brown fielded the ball and flicked it to the plate where Wooten slid feet first and avoided the tag according to the umpire.
The safe call drew immediate ire from the New Bern bench.
With one run in and two runners on, Nolan Lancaster laid down a second consecutive bunt and reached safely when Brown over threw first base. The error brought home Wright and Pilkington.
Wayne County led 3-0.
"I didn't get a good look at the first play at the plate, but it was one of those bang-bang plays that could go either way," said Reaves. "But it didn't end up being the decisive run because we bunted again and the error gave us two more."
Alex Casey capped the four-run outburst with a single that plated Lancaster.
Aside from the RBI and 1-for-2 night at the plate, Casey also made two brilliant defensive plays in right field to keep New Bern off the scoreboard. Reaves praised his effort.
"Alex was great all-around tonight," said Reaves. "He had a good at-bat and drew a walk, he got a big hit, and he made two great catches.
"He is the kind of kid that you want on your team. He is here because he wants to be and because he works hard. As long as he keeps playing hard I am going to keep him in the lineup."
Post 11's fourth error led to New Bern's lone run in the seventh inning.
Wayne County (20-5 overall) added an insurance run in the eighth, on a single off the bat of Wright. Jay Rose scored from second on the play, and finalized the scoring.
"I was a little worried that we hadn't seen live pitching in four or five days, and we did strand a lot of runners in scoring position," said Reaves. "But hopefully we have got our rhythm back offensively and it will carry into the next game."
The series continues today at New Bern. Game time is 7 p.m.
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