07/02/11 — Post 11 ready for playoffs

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Post 11 ready for playoffs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 2, 2011 11:06 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Recent history doesn't favor Wayne County Post 11 when the Area I East playoffs begin today at four different venues.

Post 11 hasn't advanced past the opening round since 2008 when it captured the Area I championship, and participated in the state tournament.

Wayne County (17-5 overall) will attempt to reverse the trend when Edenton Post 40 visits pitcher-friendly Scarborough Field today. First pitch in the best-of-three series is 6 p.m.

Game two is Monday at 6 p.m. at Edenton Post 40. An "if necessary game" is Tuesday at Mount Olive. Post 40 eliminated Wayne County in the first round of the 2009 playoffs.

In other first-round series, two-time defending Area I East champion Rocky Mount (15-5) plays host to New Bern, one of two teams which failed to win a division game this season. Kinston, the Area I East runner-up a year ago, opens play at Wilson. Ahoskie is the guest of Pitt County.

"The regular season is something you take a lot of pride in and try to get a good seeding," said second-year Wayne County head coach Rob Watt. "We're excited about playing. We don't know much about Edenton because they weren't on our schedule."

Wayne County seeks its first Area I East crown since 2008 and ninth overall since 1994. Post 11 has triumphed in 10 of its last 11 outings and won five of those contests by the mercy rule.

A team that struggled to find an identity and develop team chemistry, Wayne County has outscored the opposition 119-38 during that stretch. Included are two forfeit victories over New Bern Post 24, which are officially scored as 9-0 decisions.

The team is batting .329 with eight players hitting .300 or better. Adron Hollowell and Cody Davis have 25 and 24 hits, respectively. The duo has combined for 32 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

Tyler Farmer has 23 hits and 12 RBI.

"There is a little bit more familiarity now," said Watt. "The guys are used to each other, understand what type of player the guy is standing next to him and the guy hitting in front of him or behind him or the type of pitcher we have on the mound.

"These guys have played against each other all their life. It's not very often that they're together on one team. There is a period of time where you have to get used to it."

The pitching staff has allowed just one run in the last 18 innings. Right-hander Cameron Taylor, who has a team-leading four wins, threw a complete-game shutout against Clayton Post 71 on Tuesday.

Six hurlers combined for an eight-hitter in the regular-season finale against Duplin-Sampson Post 128 on Thursday.

Overall, seven different Post 11 hurlers have recorded at least one win this season and the staff has combined for a 3.60 earned run average. Taylor is the top hurler with a microscopic 0.40 ERA in 22 innings of work. Hunter Barnett is next at 2.12, followed by Jordan Quinn at 2.57. The trio has combined to yield just nine earned runs in 53 innings.

"Hopefully we can keep this going for a long time, maybe into August," said Watt.