07/02/09 — Greene County wins 12u title

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Greene County wins 12u title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 2, 2009 1:46 PM

GRANTHAM -- Two strikes.

The game-tying run 60 feet from home.

The game-winning run at second base.

Greene County reliever Justin Lee adjusted his hat, got the sign from his catcher and fired toward the plate. Wayne County's Jordan Gurley hit a slow roller to second base and the Rams' Carmen Lee cleanly fielded the grounder.

His throw to first popped in the glove of teammate Graham Anderson and set off a wild celebration near the pitcher's mound.

Series comeback complete.

The Rams edged Wayne County 7-6 and claimed the 2009 Eastern N.C. Babe Ruth District 4 12-Under baseball championship on the Grantham Sports Complex diamond Wednesday evening. The Rams secured the best-of-three series 2-1 and earned a trip to the state tournament in Holly Springs.

"We played well, but you have to tip your hat to that Wayne County crowd," said Greene County coach Mike Anderson. "We've had leads the entire tournament and could never put them away. They just kept battling."

And Wayne nearly pulled off a miraculous ending.

Trailing 7-3, Ryan Davis started the sixth inning by reaching on an error. After a groundout, Bryce McKeel slapped an RBI single that bounced off the fence in center field.

Lee plunked Davis Jones in the back and Brandon Johnson followed with a run-scoring base knock. After a strikeout, Brock Painter closed the gap to 7-6 with an RBI single.

Painter stole second and Johnson stood at third when Lee coaxed Wayne County's Jordan Gurley into the game-ending groundout.

"The winning run is at second base and I'm going to say arguably their best hitter at the plate, and Lee made a great pitch," said Anderson. "Then we did what we've done all tournament long and that's make the (routine) play."

Greene County exploded for five second-inning runs. Austin Mooring broke the scoreless stalemate with an RBI double. Jalen Carmen followed with a two-RBI, bases-loaded double. Bailey Ormond and Lee also supplied RBI hits during that stretch.

Wayne County climbed within 5-3 on RBI hits from Painter and Davis in the third inning.

Will Creech slugged a lead-off home run in the fourth inning. It was his second round-tripper of the series and the Rams' fifth homer overall in a three-day period. Teammate Tyler Jones eventually drove in the game-winning run with an RBI sacrifice grounder in the sixth inning.

"Creech had a big bomb that was huge," said Anderson. "Their pitcher threw a lot of off-speed stuff, but we hit the ball better tonight ... some line drives. We battled just enough (to win)."