07/07/11 — Wayne County prepares for showdown with Rocky Mount

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Wayne County prepares for showdown with Rocky Mount

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on July 7, 2011 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Rob Watt knew that his team would eventually have to go through two-time defending Area I East Champion Rocky Mount to win a title.

The head coach's vision will come to fruition tonight when Post 11 travels to Nash Central High School to battle Post 58 in the Area I tournament semifinals. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

"I expect that it's going to be a really well played series," Watt said. "Rocky Mount always has a good team and we feel like whoever wins the series will have to play some very good baseball to do it."

The two teams split a pair of regular season games with the road team winning each contest. Rocky Mount seized an 8-4 win on June 16 while Post 11 won a 17-1 decision on June 23.

A lot has changed for both teams since their meeting two weeks ago. First and foremost, both squads will have a full compliment of pitchers at their disposal for their best-of-three series thanks to favorable first round playoff matchups. Wayne County (19-5 overall) dropped Edenton in two games and only used four total pitchers to complete the sweep which finished on Monday night.

Rocky Mount (17-5 overall) had an even easier route to the second round after New Bern was forced to forfeit both games of their opening round series. Post 58 has not played a live game in 11 days.

"Hopefully that works out in our favor," Watt said. "Obviously they will be well rested but on the other hand there might be a little bit of rust involved too with that long of a layoff."

Wayne County will likely send Collin Dubose to the mound tonight. Dubose has allowed four earned runs over his last 9 1/3 innings. The C.B. Aycock High School product does not have a win this season but has tallied a pair of saves. Watt will also have Jordan Quinn, who posted a win over Post 58 earlier this season, and Cameron Taylor the team's leader in earned run average (0.41) at his disposal.

Hunter Barnett will also be ready to throw if needed. Barnett has posted a 1-1 record but has dazzled coaches with his accuracy, only walking three batters in 17 innings pitched.

"I feel like our pitching is lined up pretty well for us," Watt said. "Obviously each game is different and you have to do whatever it takes to win the games that are there for you to win. All our guys have to be ready whenever I call on them to take the ball."

Wayne County and Rocky Mount will continue the series at Mount Olive College on Friday night. The third game of the set will be back in Nash County if necessary.