Post 11-Kinston meet
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 21, 2011 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Hunter Barnett is riding a wave of confidence that Rob Watt hopes doesn't end too soon.
Especially after Monday evening.
Barnett threw five-plus innings of stellar relief, and Wayne County Post 11 pounded out a come-from-behind, 16-6 victory over South Division foe Kinston Post 43 at Scarborough Field.
A left-hander, Barnett earned his first-ever Senior Legion decision just two days after combining with little brother, Cory, for a no-hitter against Junior Legion opponent Snow Hill Post 43.
"I reckon I'm still riding that game," said a grinning Barnett.
Barnett snuffed out a red-hot Post 43 offense that tagged Wayne County starter Collin DuBose for six runs during the first three innings. Post 11 compounded its troubles with two defensive miscues and Barnett took over with two outs in the third inning.
The rising senior at Eastern Wayne retired nine of the final 12 batters he faced and permitted just three hits in 5 1/3 innings. Barnett logged three strikeouts and lowered his earned run average to a team-best 0.90 this season.
"I found my groove, started throwing strikes," said Barnett. "My curveball and off-speed was getting them out in front a lot. It was mostly fastball, fastball, then curveball ... kept them off balance."
Barnett became the seventh Post 11 hurler to claim a mound win this season.
"I can't say enough about Hunter," said Wayne County coach Rob Watt. "He hung up zeros (on the board) every inning he was out there. He threw everything for strikes."
Wayne County (9-4 overall, 3-2 South) started out shaky offensively.
Post 11 hit into rally-killing double plays in each of the first two innings and trailed 6-0 before flipping the switch on its offense. Post 43 hurler Eddie Hawkins induced four ground-ball outs and recorded two strikeouts, but lost sight of the strike zone in the third inning.
Cody Davis' three-RBI triple, Tyler Farmer's two-RBI single and Zack Mozingo's two-RBI base knock highlighted an eight-run outburst. The trio combined for seven hits and nine RBI.
Wayne County, which scored in four of the final six innings, smacked four Kinston pitchers around the park for a season-high 21 hits.
"Hitting is contagious," smiled Watts. "When one guy gets it going, another guy gets hitting behind him. When you put pressure on them, they'll do the same things that we were doing early on (defensively).
"The roles kind of switched."
Eight of nine Wayne County starters collected at least two hits apiece in the mercy-rule win. Adron Hollowell batted 4-for-5, while Kevin Wise (two RBI) and Tyler Ruffin (RBI) each provided three hits.
Kinston (5-6, 2-3) committed seven errors which led to six unearned runs. Post 11 claimed its 99th mercy-rule win in program history.