05/27/11 — Rams score early, top Warriors, 8-3

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Rams score early, top Warriors, 8-3

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 27, 2011 1:47 PM

MCLEANSVILLE -- Like a sports car speeding down the interstate, Northeast Guilford put its foot on the accelerator early and then set the cruise control Thursday evening.

The Rams scored four runs in each of the first two innings and held off Eastern Wayne 8-3 in the opening game of the best-of-three, N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A eastern championship series.

Game two is today at Eastern Wayne. First pitch is 7 p.m.

"The good news is that they still have to win another game to put us away," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "We need to come out on our home field and play our best game, and force the series to game three. Then anything can happen."

Northeast Guilford jumped on top early.

Josiel Colon led off the first inning with a walk, Jalin Davis singled and Luis Pala followed with a two-run double off the right center-field fence. Johnny Brown singled, Jacob McCann walked and Caleb McCann plated another run with a base hit.

Harrison Phillips capped the outburst with an RBI groundout.

Eastern Wayne (20-8 overall) scratched a run in the top of the second when Wesley Stewart launched a home run to make the score 4-1.

Northeast Guilford (28-1) immediately answered with four more runs in the bottom of the inning. Jordan Brown drew a walk, Davis doubled and Paula plated a run with an RBI hit. Brown did the major damage with a tape-measure home run that plated three more Rams. "After that second inning I thought we played pretty well," said Fulghum. "The fact is, you can't spot a good team an 8-1 lead any time."

The cushion was more than enough for Rams starter Caleb McCann, who earned the mound win with a complete-game performance that included five strikeouts.

Eastern Wayne added a fourth-inning run when Ryan Faucette scored on an RBI groundout by Hunter Barnett. Greg Simms belted a solo home run in the fifth to complete the Warriors' tally.

Nolan James suffered the loss on the pitcher's mound. Barnett tossed 5 2/3 innings of relief and allowed three hits after the second inning.

"I thought we got ahead early and we got a little bit complacent," said Northeast Guilford head coach David Lawing. "We got a few hits later in the game, but generally I wasn't happy with our approach at the plate after we took the lead."