05/15/11 — Chargers' Taylor earns 100th career win

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Chargers' Taylor earns 100th career win

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 15, 2011 1:51 AM

It's official -- 10 hours later.

Michael Taylor finally has 100 career wins at Wayne Country Day.

The Chargers upended archrival Wayne Christian, 9-4, in opening-round action of the 2011 N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A baseball playoffs Friday evening.

But the final decision wasn't made until Saturday morning.

A late-evening thunderstorm delayed play for two-plus hours with WCDS leading 14-4 in the top of the seventh. Taylor and Roger Longwell, athletics director at Wayne Christian, consulted the rulebook and talked with head umpire Mickey Davis.

They called the Association to get an official clarification on the ruling, which contradicted itself. Davis read the rule and Chappell agreed with his interpretation. More than 41/2 innings had been played and a winner could be determined by reverting back to the previous completed inning.

WCDS led 9-4 after six innings.

However, Longwell and Eagles head coach Scott Pender contended the game should be suspended due to a sentence in the rulebook that defended the home team taking its final at-bat regardless the score.

They felt the game could have been completed since the rain had not rendered field conditions unplayable.

Additional calls and text messages to either Carter or playoff sport chairman Rob Salter were not returned while a light rain fell and lightning strikes continued to streak across the sky. The coaches agreed to go home and wait for Carter's final decision that came Saturday morning.

It is a WCDS victory.

"I wish it didn't end like this because there was uncertainty about what was going to happen," said Taylor. "There was confusion for the guys and everyone else involved. (But) it's great to get a win against a county rival.

"The guys kept their composure, especially in an emotional rivalry like this one. They went out and played, and did their job on the field."

The ninth-seeded Chargers (13-9 overall) continue play Tuesday at three-time defending state champion Lawrence Academy, which is ranked No. 1 in the latest NCISAA poll. First pitch is 5 p.m.

The loss snapped the Eagles' eight-game win streak.

"It is what it is and a decision's got to be made," said WCS head coach Scott Pender. "We'll stand by that. They went to the high school federation book (and) said it's not clear in our handbook. They said they'll meet about this summer and have it re-written.

"(WCDS) clearly had the better game, so they (our players) have got to realize and recognize that."

Wayne Country Day held leads of 1-0 and 3-1.

Wayne Christian pulled within 3-2 in the fourth on Jordan Crouthamel's double-play grounder to second baseman Bryce Creger. One play earlier, Chargers catcher Hil Tanner had thrown out Tyler Mooring, who attempted to take second base on a delay steal.

"That was a big out by Hil," said Taylor. "Then the play Bryce made wouldn't have been a turn-two situation. That was a big inning because they could have done some damage there."

The Eagles (11-9) tied the game in the fifth inning.

Bryce Norman lofted a high fly ball to shallow center field that a WCDS player lost in the lights. Norman moved into scoring position on an infield error and touched the plate on Chase Darden's game-tying single.

"I told the boys we have six outs to make something happen here," said Taylor. "Wayne Christian has been playing well at the end of ballgames. If we want to play the next round, we have to pick things up in the sixth inning."

The Chargers did.

Wayne Christian right-hander Chandler Harrell hit two batters and walked one to load the bases after Thomas Elmore's sacrifice bunt. Harrell coaxed Cody Neal into an infield pop-up for the second out.

Tanner followed with a two-strike, bases-clearing triple to right center to put WCDS in front, 6-3. It was Tanner's ninth extra-base knock of the season.

"We were one strike away from the third out when it was tied 3-3 with a chance of getting another at-bat, and it just kind of fell apart," said Pender. "(Harrell) was missing his spots and I think he was also tired. He said his hamstring was hurting him, but I don't know how much that affected him."

Harrell plunked Davis and Pender called on Darden in relief.

Pearson cranked Darden's second pitch over the left center-field fence for a three-RBI home run, and a 9-3 advantage. It was Pearson's fourth dinger of the season, and boosted his team-leading RBI total to 38.

The Chargers have hit 14 homers overall.

"The bats came alive," said Taylor.

Pearson emerged the winning pitcher in the wacky opening-round playoff affair. The senior right-hander permitted four runs (three earned) on six hits, fanned four WCS batters and walked two in a complete-game effort.