07/31/08 — Clayton rocks Post 11

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Clayton rocks Post 11

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 31, 2008 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Perhaps the lone silver lining from Wayne County Post 11's performance on Wednesday night is that it won't have to wait long to turn things around.

Post 11 lacked life, struggled to find the strike zone and never got its offense going in a 20-2 loss in seven innings to Clayton Post 71 in game two of the best-of-three Area I Division championship series at Southern Wayne High School.

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Wayne County’s Zack Wright (6) gets caught in a rundown between first and second bases during Wednesday’s game against Clayton Post 71. Wright was out on the play. Clayton defeated Wayne County 20-2 in seven innings and forced a decisive third game today at Smithfield-Selma High School.

Game three is at 7 p.m. tonight at Smithfield-Selma High School.

"You have nights like this, everybody has them," said Wayne County head coach Brad Reaves. "Maybe we got it out now. We couldn't get an out and we couldn't throw a strike."

Post 11 starting pitcher Adron Hollowell had an outing uncharacteristic of his season, allowing nine runs on six hits with four walks and one strikeout in two innings of work.

Drew Alford got Clayton (19-10 overall) on the board with a lead-off homer in the first.

Justin Diener's solo home run jump started a 10-run third inning in which Clayton sent 14 batters to the plate. Alford's bases-loaded walk extended Post 71's lead to 6-0 and chased Hollowell from the ballgame.

"I don't think it was nerves," Reaves said of Hollowell. "I don't think it was because it was a big game or anything. I don't think it was all Adron. I think we lost focus as a team.

"Adron is one of the few two-way players we've got. The nights we call on in him to pitch we need him to be locked into that pitching mode. I think he realizes that."

Diener greeted Wayne County reliever Jesse Randolph with a grand slam that buried Post 11 in a 10-0 hole. Kyle Cummings tacked on a run-scoring groundout. Diener finished 3-for-4 with two homers, seven RBIs and three runs scored.

Walker Gourley's RBI single in the home half of the third helped Wayne County avoid the shutout.

Clayton sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth and pushed across six more runs.

John Wooten added a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth for Post 11. It was his third of the series and 11th of the season.

Post 71 capped its scoring with three runs in the seventh. Clayton pounded out 16 hits and benefited from 14 walks by five different Wayne County pitchers.

Meanwhile, Post 11 appeared to lack focus as it had a pair of runners picked off base, made two errors and played without the intensity it used to earn a spot in the state tournament.

"These boys know they're in (the state tournament," said Reaves. "I think you'll see a different team tomorrow tonight."

Wayne County (23-6) managed just six hits. Tyler Edwards and Zach Wright had two hits apiece.