05/29/11 — Rams eliminate Warriors from playoffs

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Rams eliminate Warriors from playoffs

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 29, 2011 1:51 AM

Eastern Wayne was not about to let Northeast Guilford slugger Johnny Brown Jr. beat them.

Jacob McCann finally made the Warriors pay for their strategy.

After an intentional walk to Brown Jr., McCann plated two runs with a single in the top of the seventh inning and the visitors held on for a 4-2 win over Eastern Wayne on Friday night in the second game of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A East regional baseball finals.

"I don't think that my guys have anything to hang their heads about," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum. "We started playing some really good baseball toward the end of the regular season and we carried that into the playoffs. If you would have told me three months ago that we would make the east finals, I would have been ecstatic."

The Rams (29-1 overall) opened the scoring in the top of the third inning when Josiel Colon singled, stole second base and scored on a single by Jaylin Davis.

Eastern Wayne tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Greg Simms drew a walk and an error led to an unearned run.

The Rams answered right back with a run in the top of the fifth. Colon reached on a two-base error and later scored on a throwing error.

Eastern Wayne rallied once again for a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth when Logan Wicks walked, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a Rams miscue.

All of that action led to McCann's heroics in the top of the seventh.

Jordan Brown led off the inning with a perfect bunt that was thrown away at first base. Colon attempted to sacrifice, but another error left him safe as well. Eastern Wayne ace Zack Mozingo promptly struck out the next two batters and issued an intentional walk to Brown Jr. It was the third time the Warriors walked the Rams' cleanup hitter on the night.

After taking a ball just below the knees, McCann reached out and stroked a fastball into right field.

"I was just trying to see something to hit and stay back on it," said McCann. "I was on the ball all night, but I was hitting it at people. I was so happy to see that ball fall in."

Eastern Wayne earned a base runner when Wicks led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, but the Warriors failed to push a run across on Rams reliever Harrison Phillips. Phillips earned the win on the pitcher's mound with 2 2/3 innings of sterling relief.

Mozingo suffered the loss despite all three runs he allowed were unearned. The big right-hander struck out nine batters in four innings of work.

"I think our lack of pitching depth got us in the end," said Fulghum. "We had some guys that have thrown a lot of innings on the mound, and (Northeast Guilford) was able to scratch out one more big hit."

Eastern Wayne finished the season 20-9 overall.