05/15/10 — Wayne Christian's state championship bid comes up short in semifinals

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Wayne Christian's state championship bid comes up short in semifinals

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 15, 2010 11:07 PM

WILSON -- The valiant effort nearly led to another comeback.

Held hitless through six innings, Wayne Christian staged a stirring seventh-inning rally and made two-time defending state champion Lawrence Academy sweat a little bit.

The fourth-seeded Eagles trimmed a six-run deficit in half, but endured a season-ending 6-3 loss to the No. 1-ranked Warriors in semifinal-round action of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A baseball playoffs Friday afternoon.

Lawrence (28-4 overall) claimed its third consecutive state crown with a two-game sweep of Greenfield in the best-of-three championship series.

"We had a valiant effort the whole time ... played with heart from the get-go," said second-year Wayne Christian head coach Greg Johnson. "I am really proud of the guys ... really tickled. I would have love to have won (the game).

"But the result, I can't be more pleased with our guys."

Warrior right-hander Scott Edge flirted with a perfect game through 51/3 innings. The 6-footer fed the Eagles a steady diet of fastballs and lived on the outside corner of the plate throughout the 1-hour, 35-minute affair.

Edge retired 16 consecutive batters, including seven by strikeout.

"The thing is we haven't faced but one other pitcher (this season) who threw like Edge," said Johnson. "We did get try to get on the plate (and) move back in the box. We did try to adjust, but it just didn't work."

The Eagles' Tyler Mooring reached on a sixth-inning error to foil Edge's perfect-game bid. Travis Thomas broke up the no-hit bid with a lead-off single in the seventh, which ignited the three-run outburst.

Thomas and Chase Darden, who reached on an error, each scored on defensive miscues by the Warriors. Freshman Gregory Johnson capped the uprising with a two-out, RBI double -- the Eagles' third and final hit of the afternoon.

Edge ended the game with a strikeout.

"I told the guys the pressure was all on them," said coach Johnson. "We just have to come in here and play with our heart like we have all year, and play our game. We will see what the result ends up."

Wayne Christian right-hander Stephen Gallagher dueled with Edge for three-plus innings. The Warriors erased the scoreless deadlock on William Norrell's RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.

Lawrence plated four fifth-inning runs on two hits, two hit batsmen and an error. Blake Hill cleared the bases with a three-run triple, which boosted his season RBI total to 35. Five of the Warriors' six runs were unearned.

Gallagher threw a complete-game, four-hitter.

"I told Stephen that we'd call on him because they're a fastball-hitting team," said Johnson. "We needed to go in there with some off-speed (stuff) and he has the most off-speed (pitching) of anybody on our team."