07/01/09 — WC North crowned 8U champ

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WC North crowned 8U champ

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 1, 2009 1:46 PM

GRANTHAM -- Another comeback.

For the second straight day, Wayne County North allowed rival Wayne County South to gain early momentum and build a mutiple-run lead during their 8U Rookie battle.

And, once again, Wayne County North rallied -- in extra innings.

Blake Dilda stroked a game-winning, two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning as North prevailed 19-18 and claimed the Eastern N.C. Babe Ruth District 4 championship Monday evening. North, which finished 3-0 in the double-elimination event, punched its ticket for the state tournament in New Bern.

On the 12U scene, Greene County smashed three home runs in a 13-7 conquest of Wayne County. The Rams logged 14 hits and evened the best-of-three series at 1-1 heading into today's winner-take-all showdown on the Grantham Sports Complex diamond.

First pitch is 6:30 p.m.

Also today, Wayne County faces Wilson County for the 11U district championship at 6:30 p.m. Wayne County is undefeated in the three-team, double-elimination event and can advance to the state tournament with a victory.

North's high-octane offense, which compiled 54 runs in three games, posted 16 runs during a three-inning stretch against South. South tightened its defense and recorded two shutout innings on defense to stay within striking distance.

South grabbed a two-run advantage in the seventh and could have had more, but North's Cade Rey made a crucial double play to quickly end the offensive surge.

North responded with a three-run inning, including Dilda's game-winning knock. Dilda finished with four hits, while teammate Dillon Borel contributed four hits and two doubles.

Josh Naughton, Jacob Holmes, Luke Barefoot and Cal Reese pounded out three hits apiece. Davis Carroll and Will Caudill each supplied two hits in North's 24-hit attack.

"Oh my goodness," said North head coach Steven Reese. "Our bats were just amazing, and the defense kept its head up and focused all week. The kids never got down."

Kolby Harris and Cameron Roux paced South's offense with four hits apiece. Landon Ginn homered in a 3-for-5 showing, while Wesley Case, Casey Whitfield and Will Uzzell each registered three hits.

Ryan Sullivan and Peyton Eason each had two hits.

"Our kids have played great this week, hustled and played as hard as seven- and eight-year-olds can play," said South head coach Prentice Uzzell. "(North) is really good ball team and Steve has done a great job with them. You have to be on top of your game to beat them and we were on top of our game tonight, but we just came up short."

South reached the title game with a 7-4, elimination-round triumph over Wilson County.

The smallest player on the field, Greene County's Jalen Carmen set the tone during his first at-bat in the 12U contest. The center fielder slapped a one-strike pitch over the left center field fence and the Rams kept their district title hopes alive.

It was Carmen's second lead-off homer of the tournament.

"Jalen is probably 85 pounds soaking wet," chuckled GC manager Mike Anderson. "That really set the tone tonight. Our guys came out aggressive, stayed back on pitches and didn't chase a lot of stuff like we did the first time (Sunday).

"We really laid off the off-speed stuff."

Greene County took command with a seven-run, second-inning uprising. Will Creech slugged a three-run home run and Tyler Jones, the No. 9 batter in the lineup, provided a solo shot to put the Rams comfortably ahead 8-2.

Wayne County climbed within 8-6 on Doyle Perkins' two-run, fourth-inning homer. The Rams permitted three additional runs to score on two errant throws and a balk.

Greene County sealed the outcome with four fifth-inning runs.

Seven of nine Rams recorded at least one hit in the regulation, six-inning affair. Creech finished with a team-high three hits and three RBI. Carmen, Nicholas Kearney, Hunter Murphy and Austin Mooring notched two hits apiece.

"I thought our infield and outfield played solid tonight ... had a play on everything that was hit," said Anderson. "Wayne County played hard and we had to stay focused because we lost a lead against them the first time. Both sides wanted the game badly and I think we are two evenly-matched teams."

Brock Painter and Jordan Gurley led Wayne County with two hits apiece. Perkins, Bryce McKeel, Jacob DuBose and Brandon Johnson each collected one hit.