Warrior 'unknowns' lead program to state finals
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 31, 2009 2:00 AM
RED OAK -- Eddie Loesner's strategy drew jeers and cheers.
The Northern Nash coach intentionally walked John Wooten on four occasions and issued one free pass to Walker Gourley. He wasn't about let Eastern Wayne's two "top guns" knock around his pitching staff.
"I saw the John Wooten show last night (Thursday) and I wasn't going to see it again tonight," said a smiling Loesner. "Their other players stepped up and that's why they're going to play for the state championship."
Cambric Moye swatted a three-run home run as the Warriors dumped the Knights 11-1 and swept the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A eastern regional championship series. Eastern Wayne (25-4 overall) faces either Lake Norman or Waynesville Tuscola in the state-title series later this week.
The Knights (18-9) lost in the regional finals for the second time in three seasons. Both defeats have occurred against Wayne County schools.
"A long time coming," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "Wooten was walked four times and that's respect. Bric had two (big) hits and that means a lot. I knew we had some hits in the middle part of the order."
Moye, Zack Mozingo, Zach Beachum and Josh Frederick combined for five hits and seven RBI. Moye slugged his second home run in as many outings, giving the Warriors a total of 10 during their playoff run.
Frederick's two-run, two-out double put the Warriors ahead 2-0 in the second inning. The Knights answered with an unearned run, their sixth of the series, to pull within 2-1.
Mozingo limited Northern Nash to two hits the remainder of the night.
"Mozingo set the tone for us," said Fulghum.
Their confidence building every at-bat, the Warriors made Loesner's scheme backfire in the fourth and seventh innings. Wooten drew an intentional walk and scored twice -- on Moye's three-RBI bomb and Mozingo's seventh-inning double.
Eastern Wayne collected a combined nine runs in those two innings.
"The bottom half of the order is what got our offense started tonight," said Gourley. "Frederick's double was huge. When those guys step up, it makes it to where you have to pitch to everybody.
"We were fortunate to have it fall our way."
Gourley doubled and scored once in four at-bats. Colton Fulghum contributed a first-inning and fourth-inning, RBI sacrifice fly.
The No. 5-ranked Warriors punched their ticket to the state finals for the first time since 1986 and just the third time overall in program history. Eastern Wayne won the state crown in 1986 and finished runner-up in 1982.
"We felt like we had a lot to play for these two nights and we're not just satisfied with winning this regional," said Gourley. "We want to go all the way and get it done."
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