05/08/10 — Wayne Christian advances in NCISAA playoffs

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Wayne Christian advances in NCISAA playoffs

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 8, 2010 11:44 PM

Wayne Christian recovered from a slow start just in time.

The Eagles pulled off a come-from-behind, 8-7 victory over Ahoskie Ridgecroft in opening-round action of the 2010 N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A baseball playoffs Friday afternoon.

Poor defense and cold bats put Wayne Christian in an early hole.

Leading 2-1, the 13th-seeded Rams got the bats rolling in the third inning. Chase Riddick led off with a single and Nathan Pearce moved him into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Braxton Britton singled and Aaron Britton reached on an error that allowed a run to score.

Blake Sumner followed with a two-run double that made the score 6-1.

"I knew this was going to be a tough game because Ridgecroft played a very tough schedule this season," said Wayne Christian head coach Greg Johnson. "I didn't know that is was going to be this tough. We got all we wanted."

Fourth-seeded Wayne Christian (12-9 overall) finally captured the momentum in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Chase Darden singled and was followed by Steven Gallagher's base hit. Chandler Harrell delivered the big blow of the game -- a three-run home run that easily cleared the center-field fence.

"That one swing really turned things in our favor," said Johnson. "We needed a boost, and we were able to string a couple hits together in front of Chandler and he came through."

The Eagles added three more runs one inning later and seized an 8-6 lead.

That slim cushion would be enough for Gallagher, who relieved freshman southpaw Gregory Johnson in the top of the sixth inning. Gallagher allowed one unearned run, but was never in real trouble over the last two innings en route to the save.

"I thought our pitchers both did a very good job," said coach Johnson. "We made a ton of errors and that hurt us, but I was really proud of how our pitchers battled."

Wayne Christian entertains Trinity-Durham at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Eagles upended Trinity on the way to claiming a sixth consecutive Carolina Christian Conference tournament title more than a week ago.