Southern Wayne takes conference opener
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on March 19, 2009 1:46 PM
Southern Wayne began defense of its co-Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference championship with a 7-1 victory over county rival Eastern Wayne on Wednesday.
Lauren Darden dominated in the circle and the Saints showed uncharacteristic power at the plate. Morgan Davis homered for Southern Wayne, which took the field for the first time since a five-inning, shutout loss to perennial power D.H. Conley.
"I felt like we needed to get back on the field coming off a tough loss to D.H. Conley," said second-year Southern Wayne head coach Michael Wiggs. "To come out and play as well as we did was nice to see."
The Saints (4-1 overall, 1-0 ECC) tallied two unearned runs in the second inning. They broke open the game in the fifth inning.
With one out, Brittany Pate legged out an infield single and advanced to second when Jordan Coor reached on an error. After a sacrifice bunt, Kayla Gracyk drove home both runners with a double that deflected off the third-base bag.
Tara Hirsch added an RBI double and Davis capped the inning with a two-RBI home run that easily cleared the center field fence.
"It took us a while to make adjustments offensively," said Wiggs. "But the good thing is we did make adjustments and we were able to find it as the game went on."
The Warriors (3-2, 0-1) attempted a sixth-inning comeback.
Casey Mitchell denied Darden's no-hit bid with a double into the gap. Lindsey Frederick plated Mitchell with a base knock.
Darden quickly silenced Eastern Wayne's rally one batter later.
"I told the girls to win the last two innings," said second-year Eastern Wayne head coach Tony Parrish. "Those were two big hits for us mentally. Lauren is the best pitcher in the league and we hit a couple balls hard."
Darden tossed a complete game, allowed two hits and struck out nine. Lani Fricks threw all seven innings in the pitcher's circle for the Warriors. Fricks only surrendered one earned run on five hits and tallied three strikeouts.
"Lani has done a really good job throwing strikes early in the season for us," said Parrish. "Tonight, we just didn't make the plays defensively. If you give a good team like Southern Wayne extra outs, they are going to score."
Eastern Wayne visits ECC foe Hunt today, while Southern Wayne entertains perennial 2-A power North Lenoir on Friday.
"Getting the first win in the conference is important," said Wiggs. "It is especially big for us because we know how much Eastern Wayne has improved since last season."
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