08/01/08 — Wright's crucial homer helps Wayne County defend crown

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Wright's crucial homer helps Wayne County defend crown

By News-Argus Sports Staff
Published in Sports on August 1, 2008 1:35 PM

SMITHFIELD -- Twenty-four hours after enduring the program's worst postseason defeat in 43 seasons, Wayne County Post 11 crossed another item off its "to-do" list.

Catcher Zach Wright crushed a three-run homer as Wayne County claimed a 7-6 decision over Clayton Post 71 at Spartan Field on the Smithfield-Selma High School campus.

Post 11 clinched its second consecutive Area I Division championship and fourth overall in the past nine seasons. Wayne County (24-6 overall) opposes the Area III

runner-up next Tuesday in the N.C. American Legion state tournament at Gastonia.

Walker Gourley smashed his first home run of the series, a two-run shot to put Post 11 up 2-0 in the opening inning. But Wayne County sputtered the next four innings and hit into two double plays.

Princeton High graduate Ryan Daughtry belted a game-tying, lead-off home run in the fourth inning. Daughtry became the sixth batter for either team to go yard in the three-game series.

Tied at 2-2, Clayton (19-11) erupted for three fifth-inning runs. Post 11 starter John Wooten allowed Post 71 to load the bases and Daughtry (4-for-5, four RBI) punched an outside pitch to right field for a two-RBI hit.

Wayne County coach Brad Reaves called upon trusty reliever Jay Rose at that point. The left-hander yielded the third run on a wild pitch and escaped further trouble.

Misfortune shrouded Post 71 hurler Jeff Citero in the sixth.

Wooten and Rose, who took the mound win, each connected on a two-strike single to set the table for Wright, An East Carolina signee, Wright tattooed Citero's fastball over the left-field fence to force a 5-5 tie. It was Wright's eighth home run of the season.

Clayton ended up scoreless through the next three innings.

Wayne County added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings en route to its 24th playoff win since 2007. Daughtry homered in the ninth for the 7-6 finale.

Wooten and Tyler Edwards paced Post 11's offense with two hits apiece.