McGee's blast ignites Post 11
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 18, 2011 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Nick McGee just waited.
Cary Post 67 left-hander Blair Betts dialed into the strike zone and threw two nasty curveballs that bit the corners of the plate during the third inning.
"They were dirty," smiled McGee.
Betts tried to jam McGee inside on his next offering, but the pitch hung up over the plate. McGee slapped the 2-2 curveball over the left-field fence and started an offensive outburst that lasted the final five innings.
Wayne County Post 11 hammered out a 17-2, mercy-rule victory and emerged the Area I champion for the first time since 2008. Post 11 returns to action Friday against Rowan County in the 2011 N.C. Senior American Legion state tournament at Morehead City. First pitch is 10 a.m.
Betts retired the first six batters he faced on 23 pitches, including 14 strikes. The hard-throwing southpaw induced a pair of groundouts, a pop-up to shallow left field and logged three strikeouts.
"He really did have us in check the first six hitters and looked like he was ready to go on a roll there," said Post 11 head coach Rob Watt of Betts. "Nick got a good piece of it. It gave the rest of the guys a bit of confidence ... realized this guy is hittable.
"Hitting has gotten contagious with this bunch."
McGee's solo homer -- his first of the season and first of his Legion career -- ignited a four-run inning. Cody Davis delivered a two-RBI single and Kevin Wise capped the uprising with an RBI sacrifice fly to center field.
"Nick set the tone for us," said Watt.
Betts and Cary never recovered.
Four Post 67 hurlers combined to yield 11 hits, eight walks and six wild pitches during the next five innings. Three defensive errors and two hit batsmen further compounded their troubles.
Wayne County tallied four runs in each of the fourth and sixth innings, collected two in the fifth and three in the seventh. Post 11 remained perfect in eight postseason outings and extended its win streak to 12 games.
McGee batted 2-for-3 with three RBI. Tyler Ruffin (two RBI) provided two hits. Tyler Farmer (RBI), Davis (two RBI), Wise (two RBI), Jon Taylor, Adron Hollowell, Collin DuBose and Tyler Gainey (RBI) contributed one hit apiece.
Cameron Taylor (6-0) earned the pitching decision. The right-hander tossed four scoreless innings and posted three strikeouts. Jordan Quinn escaped a bases-loaded, fifth-inning jam and Aaron Champion threw a scoreless seventh.
Cary (22-8) avoided the shutout with two sixth-inning runs against Derek Limbaugh in the sixth.
"(An) impressive (win) ... every aspect of the game," said Watt. "We kept it clean on defense, threw strikes on the mound and obviously brought our bats with us tonight. That's a good way to go into the state tournament."