By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 10, 2011 1:47 PM
Eastern Wayne had one more bullet in the chamber.
North Lenoir was out of ammunition.
The Warriors got a pitching gem from Nolan James and bullied their way to a 7-2 victory in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament championship game on Monday night. Eastern Wayne (16-7 overall) clinched the No. 2 seed in the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, and will entertain South Brunswick at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
The fourth-seeded Hawks (16-8) visit West Brunswick on Friday.
"I thought Nolan came out and threw a lot of quality pitches," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "He was able to get his off-speed stuff over and that is a big part of being successful against a good-hitting team like North Lenoir."
James got all the run support he would need in the first inning as the Warriors posted six runs.
Jake May belted a one-out double and Greg Simms followed with a single. Back-to-back North Lenoir errors allowed Zack Mozingo and James to reach base, and led to two more runs.
Wes Capps kept the rally going with an RBI single and Ryan Faucette finished the outburst with a three-run home run to left field.
"We had a chance to get out of that inning with no runs on the board and we simply booted two routine plays," said North Lenoir head coach Jim Montague. "We misplayed a ball on the infield and we threw away a potential double-play ball. Two big mistakes with runners on base."
Eastern Wayne added an insurance run in the third inning when Simms delivered an RBI base hit that plated Dante Arthur. Working with a seven-run lead, James set his right arm on cruise control through the first five innings.
North Lenoir finally got on the board in the top of the sixth when Spencer Bass was hit by a pitch, advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Brian Hardy's single was mishandled in the Warrior outfield. The Hawks added another run in the seventh inning when Rand Jackson chased home Caleb Kearney with a one-out sacrifice fly.
"To hold a team like North Lenoir to two runs is a really nice night," said Fulghum. "All three guys that pitched for us did a very good job of knowing the situations and throwing strikes."
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