Warriors advance to ECC tournament final
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 10, 2009 2:00 AM
Eastern Wayne advanced to the Eastern Carolina 3-A Confernce tournament championship game with a 5-3 win over Southern Wayne on Friday evening.
The county rivals staged a nail-biter from start to finish.
Tied at 3-3 after 5 1/2 innings, the Warriors' Robert Faucette stroked an outside pitch over the right center-field fence for his second homer of the contest.
"I wasn't thinking about hitting a home run," said Faucette, a lanky first baseman. "It was late in the game and I knew we needed base runners so I was just trying to hit the ball where it was pitched."
Jose Ponce drew a walk, Josh Frederick reached on an error and Zach Mozingo crossed first safely another Saints defensive miscue. With the bases loaded, Hunter Newsome lofted an RBI sacrifice fly to center field for the two-run cushion.
"Faucette is a guy that has been struggling a little with the bat lately," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "Tonight he hit two balls hard and really gave us a lift. Then we were able to do the little things at the end to win it."
The late-inning surge negated a thrilling Saints comeback.
Down 3-2, Tyler Edwards connected on a fifth-inning, lead-off double and advanced to third on an error. Two batters later, Edwards trotted home for the game-tying run on Scott Holloman's RBI sacrifice fly.
"This game came down to execution ... plain and simple," said Southern Wayne head coach Trae McKee. "We had two opportunites to move runners and we couldn't get a bunt downm, and that ended up being the difference."
Top-seeded Eastern Wayne (18-4 overall) opened the game with a power surge that included three hits and two home runs. John Wooten drove a fastball deep over the left field fence and two batters later Faucette delivered a two-run blast to cap the Warriors' first inning.
The fourth-seeded Saints (12-14) immediately answered with a string of hits. Keenan Winn led off the top of the second with a single, Kevin Wise drew a walk and Michael Douglas was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tyler Edwards got the Saints on the board with a two-run single.
"We knew coming in that this was going to be a very close ballgame," said Fulghum. "Southern Wayne is a good team and for us to beat them three times ... we knew it would be tough."
Frederick pitched five solid innings for the Warriors, but earned a no-decision. Wooten entered in the sixth with two men on base, wiggled off the hook and claimed the mound win.
Edwards took the hard-luck loss in a complete-game effort.
"I thought Tyler gave us all that he had," said McKee. "He came out and he gave us a chance to win the ballgame, and really gritted his teeth and threw well."
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