05/11/10 — South Johnston tops Southern Wayne

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South Johnston tops Southern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 11, 2010 1:47 PM

BUIES CREEK -- A mere 10 days ago, Southern Wayne played a near-flawless game and pulled off a stunning upset against county rival Charles B. Aycock.

Where has that team gone?

"I'm searching myself," said Saints head baseball coach Trae McKee.

Since that victory in Pikeville, Southern Wayne hasn't been able to build any momentum. McKee's team continued its downward postseason spiral with a 9-2 loss to South Johnston at Taylor Field on the Campbell University campus Monday evening.

The Trojans (13-12 overall) seized the No. 3 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs, which begin Friday. The Saints (13-14) dropped to the No. 4 seed.

"We made a couple of poor decisions with the baseball and kicked a few balls," said McKee. "You can't give teams five or six outs an inning. We've got to get tough ... one thing this young group has to learn and we have to bounce back.

"We're so quick to put our heads down when things don't go well. We've got to be mentally tough and physically tough ... grind and battle for every out, grind and battle for every plate appearance."

Southern Wayne managed just four hits, including RBI doubles by Kevin Wise and pinch-hitter Josh Cranford against Trojan right-hander Logan Jernigan. The 6-foot-3 junior logged seven strikeouts in a six-inning stint and benefited from a defense that erased three Saints runners on the base paths.

McKee's team has manufactured just three runs in its last 13 innings.

Saints hurler Will Broadwell endured another hard-luck loss. The junior right-hander retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, and profited from a third-inning double play.

Back-to-back, fourth-inning errors enabled South Johnston to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 advantage. The Trojans added a single run in the fifth and plated five runs in their final at-bat.

Broadwell permitted four runs (one earned) on six hits and fanned two South Johnston batters in five innings. Cody Davis threw 1 1/3 innings, while Jeremy Taylor threw 2/3 innings of shutout relief.

"I thought Will did all right," said McKee. "He made one mistake. He wasn't sharp, but he was effective."