West Johnston edges Wayne South
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 12, 2010 1:47 PM
DUDLEY -- It's not always the end result as much as the situation that ultimately results in maturity.
Wayne South battled all weekend but Bradley Raegan's bases-loaded RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted West Johnston to an 8-7 victory in the finals of the American Junior Legion East Regional on Sunday afternoon at Southern Wayne High School.
The Saints avoided elimination twice to get to Sunday's finals including a 9-1 victory over the Cary Bulls earlier on Sunday.
Wayne South rallied three times to tie Sunday's finale before Raegan's walk-off.
"We played great baseball all weekend," Saints head coach Trae McKee said. "I'm just proud of our kids for getting us to that situation. I thought we battled hard all weekend. There was nothing else we had left. Everybody was out of gas."
West Johnson loaded the bases with no outs in the home half of the seventh with two singles and a Wayne South error. Jack Sherril's groundball resulted in a force-play at home setting up Reagan's one-out heroics off Saints' reliever Will Raynor.
"Will threw seven innings against the same team on Friday," Mckee said. "He had maybe one more inning left in him. We've got to handle a bunt better than that."
Wayne South trailed 7-5 in the top of the sixth before Clayton Cashwell scored on a wild pitch and Taylor Brock delivered a game-tying RBI single.
West Johnson took a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth on Adam Morrison's RBI single and a run-scoring error.
The Saints erased a 5-2 margin in the top of the fifth as Raynor was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Thomas Kelly belted a two-run single.
West Johnston pushed across three runs to break a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the third inning with two hits and two Wayne South errors.
Ashton Cox's RBI single in the top of the third tied the game at 2-2.
Trailing 1-0, West Johnston took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on Matthew Parrish's two-run home run to center field.
The Saints left runners on the corners in the second inning, runners on first and second base in the third inning and stranded six runners over the final six innings.
"Those always come back to bite you in the rear end," McKee said. "We preach all year about getting the ball in the play."
Despite coming up short of its goal to reach the Junior Legion State Tournament next weekend in Cary, the Saints have plenty to be optimistic about. Wayne South returns the majority of its core to Southern Wayne's varsity roster next spring.
"If you keep putting yourself in this situation you're going to mature and you're going to have a desire to put yourself in that situation again," McKee said. "This is what it's all about right here putting it all on the line. This really sets the tone for next year. When you experience something like this with a chance to go to the state tournament it means a lot to the kids."
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