Post 11 survives another rally
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 13, 2011 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Comeback denied ... again.
Wayne County Post 11's bullpen survived a shaky effort, and thwarted a second straight late-game rally by nemesis Pitt County Post 39 during the Area I East championship series Tuesday evening.
Duane Gurganus threw a perfect ninth and preserved Wayne County's 13-11 victory at Scarborough Field. Post 11 seized a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five set which continues today at Lewis Field on the Pitt Community College campus.
First pitch is 7 p.m.
Wayne County (23-5 overall) extended its season-high win streak to 10 games, and needs one victory to clinch its first state-tournament berth since 2008.
"We could have made that baseball game a little less stressful," said Wayne County head coach Rob Watt. "Tip your cap to the guys, they didn't fold under pressure, kept bringing it to them and we maintained the lead the entire game."
Post 11 nearly invoked the mercy rule in the sixth inning.
Two errors on sacrifice plays, three hits and two walks led to a five-run outburst -- and 12-3 advantage -- in Wayne County's favor. Jonathan Taylor (4-for-4, three RBI) and Adron Hollowell, who belted a ground-rule double in right-center field, combined for two RBI.
Catcher Nick McGee (2-for-4) drove home Taylor, while Hollowell trotted home on Post 39's third error of the inning.
"The five-run inning, we were able to execute some small-ball stuff, put some pressure on their defense with some bunts," said Watt. "That kind of stuff puts things in a coach's mind and changes the defensive set for the other team. It keeps the other team on their toes quite a bit.
"I think we did a good job."
Pitt County (18-9) responded with back-to-back, four-run surges in the seventh and eighth innings. Gray Dixon's two-RBI home run spearheaded the seventh-inning uprising.
A defensive error and miscommunication on a shallow fly ball allowed Post 39 to further close the gap in the eighth. Charlie Herring greeted Gurganus with a three-RBI double into left-center field, which closed the gap to 12-11.
Post 39 slugged three homers on the night.
"We pay for our defensive mistakes more than any team I've ever coached, I think," said Watt, whose pitching staff permitted six unearned runs. "Teams really do capitalize on our defensive mishaps. Some of their guys got hold of some balls up in the zone and ran the ball out of the park tonight.
"That's a good offensive team. They prove it every time they play us."
Taylor put Wayne County ahead with a two-RBI home run in the first inning. Kevin Wise swatted a two-run homer in the fourth and emerged one of five Post 11 batters to record multiple hits during the 2-hour, 57-minute affair.
Tyler Farmer batted 3-for-5 with an RBI. Wise, Hollowell and McGee finished with two hits apiece. Zach Grantham batted 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Collin DuBose claimed his first pitching decision of the year. The right-hander yielded five runs (three earned) on eight hits and logged six strikeouts in a six-inning stint. Aaron Champion tossed 1 2/3 innings of relief before Gurganus took over with two outs in the eighth.
DuBose became the eighth different pitcher to scratch in the win column for Post 11 this season. Gurganus is the sixth hurler to record a save. Wayne County's staff has seven saves as a team.
Other Local Sports
- Wayne County-Henderson box
- Wayne County eliminates West Raleigh
- Wayne County-West Raleigh box
- Behrend taking wrestling talents to NAIA power Jamestown (ND) College
- Wayne County overcomes sluggish start against Henderson
- Post 11 storms back after 2010
- Simms inks baseball NLI with Lenoir CC
- Massey wants to restore once-proud tradition
- Wayne County drops state tournament opener
- Wayne County and Cary to meet on Sunday