Wayne County rallies late, nips Duplin-Sampson, 11-10
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 25, 2012 1:49 PM
DUDLEY -- The clock crept toward the midnight hour.
Some fans yawned and glanced at their watches.
Others packed up their chairs and headed for the parking lot.
Those who stuck around watched Wayne County Post 11 rally for an 11-10, 11-inning triumph over Duplin-Sampson Post 127 in the season-opening game for both senior Legion baseball teams Thursday evening.
The wild affair took 4 hours, 8 minutes to finish.
"You can't explain this," first-year Post 11 head coach Jason Sherrer said. "Our guys played hard ... can't ask for anything else and finding a way to stay in the game the whole time. Our pitchers did a great job throwing strikes and trying to get the outs."
The teams combined to use 14 pitchers.
Wayne County's quartet -- Jackson Hayes, Jacob Sasser, Zack Mozingo and Hunter Barnett -- surrendered nine hits, four unearned runs and logged 17 strikeouts. Mozingo and Barnett, who emerged the winning pitcher, combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless, seven-strikeout relief.
Post 11 committed six errors defensively.
"The thing that killed us was just the errors," Sherrer said. "They were all mental mistakes, over throwing the cut-off a few times in huge situations where they scored two or three (runs) off one error. If we take care of the baseball, we're in that game a lot sooner ... maybe finish in nine."
Duplin-Sampson employed 10 pitchers who permitted 10 hits and issued 16 free passes. The group forced Wayne County to strand 17 runners, including eight in scoring position.
Post 127 seemed poised to end its nine-game losing streak in the series when it extended its lead to 10-5 in the eighth. Two errors during the four-run uprising drew a collective groan from the Post 11 faithful, who thought the final blow might have been dealt for the night.
Wayne County answered with a five-run ninth.
Austin Hinton, Duane Gurganus and Barnett loaded the bases with three consecutive one-out singles. Hinton touched home on Tyler Gainey's sacrifice fly to center field. Gurganus scored on a wild pitch and Barnett raced home on Will Winslow's hit.
Post 11 trailed 10-8.
Catcher Ashton Cox delivered his lone base knock -- a sharply-hit, two-RBI single to left field, which knotted the contest at 10-all. Cox emerged one of eight Post 11 starters to record at least one hit on the night.
Duplin-Sampson didn't threaten in either the 10th or 11th innings against Mozingo and Barnett, who combined to retire the final four batters they faced.
Mozingo and Winslow drew back-to-back, one-out walks to start the 11th. Reliever James Kornegay, the 14th pitcher of the night, replaced Cedric Kornegay and walked Cox to load the bases.
Tyler Huetter lofted a sacrifice fly to right field, which scored Mozingo to end the marathon contest.
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