06/15/11 — Post 11 squad still seeks an identity

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Post 11 squad still seeks an identity

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 15, 2011 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Nearly all of the distractions are gone.

Now it's time for some baseball.

Wayne County Post 11 is taking that approach as it begins second-half play at home Thursday against two-time defending Area I East champion Rocky Mount Post 58. First pitch is 7 p.m. at Scarborough Field.

The non-division contest kicks off a stretch of 10 games in a 13-day period. Seven of those games will be on the road.

Second-year head coach Rob Watt is completely focused on the American Legion season after Mount Olive's run to the 2011 Division II College World Series. His return, along with assistant coach Jason Sherrer, will remove some pressure from assistant coach Jackson Massey.

A former Post 11 standout, Massey guided the team to a 5-1 record during Watt's absence in the dugout.

"We really haven't had a chance to get together and practice," said Watt. "There are a whole lot of distractions that didn't allow us to do the basic stuff so we can get a good feel for each other. We'll practice a little bit and iron out the kinks."

Wayne County (7-3 overall) has found some chemistry offensively, but hasn't gotten in synch on the defensive side. Errors have proved costly. Most have occurred either on miscommunication or players not being comfortable with position they're playing.

Watt added that having players from four high schools comprise the team leads to different philosophies. Bunt defenses, first-and-third situations and other fundamentals have led to some misconceptions on the field.

"(In practice) they'll get to understand what I expect, what Jason expects and what Jackson expects," said Watt. "We're not at the comfortable stage yet with each other, I don't think. I see glimpses of it. Offensively, it's a lot easier to be in synch with each other.

"But defensively you get used to playing alongside some other guys (all season), so we've got to get more time with each other, no doubt."

Post 11 has practiced without several players this week, who are participating in either the East-West All-Star Game or State Games of North Carolina. Utility player Jonathan Taylor is participating in the East-West contest, which is today at BB&T Field on the Wake Forest University campus.

Six Senior and Junior Legion players -- Kevin Wise, Adam Pate, Zack Mozingo, Collin DuBose, Bryant Stafford and Taylor Brock -- have been chosen for the Region 2 squad, which begins play Thursday in Winston-Salem.

Wayne County and Post 58 split the regular-season series a year ago, and Post 11 leads the all-time series 58-45. One night later, Watt's team travels to long-time nemesis Wilson Post 13, which eliminated Wayne County from the Area I East playoffs last season.

"Rocky Mount and Wilson aren't going to be easy (games) when you are missing that caliber of kid," said Watt. "We have to grind it out a little bit, and it will give the other kids an opportunity to play."