By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 27, 2011 1:47 PM
KINSTON -- A winnable ballgame ended in disappointing and disastrous fashion Sunday evening.
Defensive demons Wayne County Post 11 appeared to have exorcised recently returned in full force at Viking Field. Kinston Post 43 feasted on its guest's misfortune and claimed a 12-5 victory against its South Division rival.
The loss snapped Wayne County's six-game win streak.
"It's a tough loss," said Post 11 head coach Rob Watt.
But none was tougher than this.
Kinston built a 5-0 lead through seven innings before Wayne County rallied in the eighth. Tyler Ruffin connected on a lead-off single and Collin DuBose doubled into the left center-field gap.
Ruffin trotted home on a throwing error and Cameron Taylor's sacrifice fly closed the gap to 5-2. Adron Hollowell, who reached on an error, eventually crossed home on a wild pitch. Zach Grantham capped the scoring with an RBI single -- his only hit of the night.
Post 43 answered during its next at-bat.
Trent Murray's lead-off base hit to right field started a gut-wrenching, seven-run uprising. Post 11 reliever Zach Beachem hit three batters to aid the rally, and was victimized by a defense that committed four errors behind him.
Spencer Bass' two-RBI double ended the nightmarish inning.
"It's been our Achilles' heel," said Watt, whose team permitted just three earned runs. "Our defense has gotten us into trouble time and again, and we couldn't recover tonight. It's tough to point fingers because everyone has had a hand in it (errors) at one time or another (this season)."
Wayne County's Hunter Barnett (1-1) suffered the mound loss. The left-hander allowed five runs (three earned) on 11 hits and walked just one batter in six innings. Beachem threw 1 2/3 innings, while Tyler Gainey recorded the final out in the eighth.
Kinston starter Blake Herring threw a complete-game, 113-pitch outing. The right-hander tossed a four-hitter through seven innings and hushed a Post 11 offense which had averaged 14-plus runs during its season-best win streak.
Herring coerced Wayne County hitters to hack at either first or second pitches on 14 at-bats during that stretch. He induced nine ground-ball outs, two infield pop-ups and several lazy fly balls to the outfield.
"We were slow to get the sticks going, for sure," said Watt. "Even when we did square a ball up, it went at somebody. You don't want to say the bats are cooling off because we've been so hot, but the balls weren't flying here today ... we left them in the air a little bit too much."
Post 11 collected seven hits the final two innings. Farmer paced the Wayne County attack with three hits, while Taylor and DuBose added two hits apiece.