Post 11 prepared for Clayton
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 29, 2008 1:44 PM
DUDLEY -- Don't expect Wayne County Post 11 to change its philosophy when it begins defense of its Area I Division championship today.
You don't fix something that isn't broke.
Despite losing 90 percent of its offensive production and two Division I hurlers a year ago, Post 11 found a way to blend several newcomers with its experienced returners. Pitching issues concerned sixth-year coach Brad Reaves, but he used a "patchwork" approach to put together another East Division championship team.
"Pitching, plain and simple, has been the biggest surprise," said Reaves. "For those new guys to come in with almost no legion experience and do what they've done during the playoffs is just tremendous."
First-year starters Michael Douglas and Adron Hollowell have combined for 10 of Wayne County's 22 wins. Douglas is 6-2 with a 3.05 earned run average in 12 mound appearances, while Hollowell is 4-1 with a 3.43 ERA. The methodical right-hander has a team-leading 13 appearances on the hill.
Douglas is expected to start tonight when Wayne County opens its best-of-three series at Area I West champion Clayton Post 71. Game time is 7 p.m. on the Smithfield-Selma High School diamond.
"You'll see all three starters, but you won't see a complete game in this series, I don't think," said Reaves. "I am trying to make that promise to myself. We're going to give some people some work.
"On the other end of the spectrum, our three starters we've used so far need some rest. We're not going to change our philosophy as to how we play the game."
Second-year starter Taylor Allen is 6-2 with a 3.81 ERA. Reliever John Wooten and closer Jay Rose have combined for five pitching victories. Rose has logged two saves, while first-year starter Jesse Randolph and Hollowell have one save apiece.
Overall, Post 11 has a staff ERA of 3.78.
"Our pitching has come on and they've all done well," said Reaves.
Clayton (18-9 overall) swept Durham for the West title and pulled out two one-run wins at home during the series. Post 71 has yet to taste defeat in eight postseason contests, while Wayne County is 8-1.
"I don't know much about them, but they've got to be pretty good to handle Durham like they did," said Reaves.
Reaves knows about Durham.
Before the July 4th break, Durham handed Post 11 an embarrassing loss on the Southern Wayne diamond. Reaves had a long, one-sided discussion with his team after the game and says it provided a much-needed wake-up call.
"I thanked their coach after the game," said Reaves. "I don't know if they were a hungry team before that, but they are now."
Wayne County (22-5) has gone 8-1 since that outing and repeated as the Area I East Division champion. Reaves' teams are a remarkable 22-3 in the playoffs since 2007.
"I don't want them to take anything for granted and they might have done that before the Durham game," said Reaves. "I think they've figured it out. You can see it in their eyes that they're after a ring and I hope they can get it.
"(This series) will be a good test. Win or lose, we ought to learn something."
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