Seventh-inning grand slam lifts Chargers past Rebels
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 3, 2011 1:51 AM
CALYPSO -- Adam Wingate lived every hitter's fantasy on the baseball diamond Friday evening.
The junior shortstop swatted a seventh-inning grand slam home run, and lifted Ayden-Grifton to a come-from-behind, 6-4 victory over Carolina 1-A Conference foe North Duplin in cold, breezy conditions.
The Chargers (7-5 overall, 2-1 CC) handed the Rebels (9-2, 2-1) their first home defeat of the season.
North Duplin hurler Larry White cruised through the first six innings. The right-hander permitted first- and second-inning hits, retired the side in order in the third and fifth innings, and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
He didn't survive the seventh.
Spencer Damato's lead-off double, his only hit of the evening, ignited Ayden-Grifton's seventh-inning uprising. White issued back-to-back walks to pinch-hitters Joe Stocks and Charles Jordan, which juiced the bases for Wingate.
Hitless in his first three at-bats, Wingate swung at a 1-0 fastball on the outside corner of the plate, and rode it over the center-field fence. It was Wingate's second round-tripper of the season and his first grand slam.
"I was a little surprised because I've had trouble hitting the outside pitch this year, and I just waited on it, hit the ball backside," said Wingate. "I've been in a slump, my hitting mechanics have kind of gone down a little bit. I just had to get back in check.
"The last at-bat I got back into the groove a little bit, but I still have a lot of work to do ... a long ways to go."
Ayden-Grifton padded its advantage with two unearned runs.
"(Larry) just missed his spots," said first-year Rebels head coach Brad Lloyd. "I thought he was throwing just as good in the seventh as he was in the first inning. The lead-off batter hadn't done anything all day, hits a backside grand slam, so what can you do?
"That's how it goes every now and then."
North Duplin answered with Konner Brock's two-out, RBI single in its final at-bat, but couldn't pull out its fourth home win of the season. The Rebels cranked out 11 hits, but stranded eight of 11 runners in scoring position.
The Rebels batted 0-for-6 with five runners in scoring position during the final three innings.
"We've just got quit leaving people on base, need to try to make something happen and they don't understand that," said Lloyd. "I'm hoping this gets to them if they get up there in the box and poke it out there, they're either going to get a hit, an error ... something is going to happen.
"We've got to start scoring and you want to help your pitcher who you know is going seven innings as much as you can."
Colby Gehron (3-for-3, two RBI) supplied RBI singles in the third and fourth innings. James Kornegay delivered a third-inning RBI single to help give White a 3-0 lead.