05/25/11 — Warriors silence Hawks' hot bats

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Warriors silence Hawks' hot bats

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 25, 2011 1:46 PM

Eastern Wayne came out ready to hit.

North Lenoir never got its offense in gear.

The result was a 3-1 victory for the Warriors in the eastern semifinal round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A baseball playoffs on Tuesday night.

Eastern Wayne faces the Northeast Guilford-Asheboro winner in a best-of-three, eastern championship series later this week. That game was suspended due to inclement weather and will be completed today.

Asheboro leads 3-2 through 31/2 innings.

"This time of year it's about doing what it takes to see tomorrow," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "We did enough tonight to see another game and I couldn't be prouder of this team."

The Warriors burst out of the gate with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Dante Arthur and Greg Simms each drove a home run over the center-field fence. After just 10 pitches, the Hawks found themselves in a 2-0 hole.

"We didn't look like we were ready to go in that first inning," said North Lenoir head coach Jim Montague. "We left a couple of balls up in the strike zone and their guys didn't miss them."

The Warriors made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning. Simms drew a lead-off walk and advanced on a single by Zack Mozingo. A sacrifice fly from Nolan James sent Simms to the plate.

The three-run lead would be plenty for Mozingo, who controlled the contest from the pitcher's mound. The junior hurler threw his second straight complete game in the postseason and struck out 12 batters in 104 pitches.

"Every time that he goes out to the mound he gives us a chance to win the ballgame," said Fulghum. "Zack had some struggles there in the middle of the game, but he always rebounded and made the big pitch he needed to get out of trouble."

Trouble came for Mozingo in the top of the fourth inning when the Hawks loaded the bases with no outs.

Grayson Phillips was hit by a pitch, Rand Jackson walked and Spencer Bass singled to fill the basepaths. Mikal Batts plated the Hawks' only run with a one-out single, but Mozingo settled down and struck out the final two batters of the inning to end the threat.

"North Lenoir is a good-hitting ball club, so we knew it would be important to hold them early," said Fulghum. "Once Zack got out of the fourth, he really settled down and pitched well."

North Lenoir finished the season 19-9 overall.

"We didn't win it tonight, but I thought we played pretty well," said Montague. "I don't feel like there is any reason for our boys to hang their heads."