06/28/12 — Wayne County drops Pitt County American Legion

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Wayne County drops Pitt County American Legion

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 28, 2012 1:48 PM

WINTERVILLE -- Sometimes you need a little luck.

After a bang-bang play at the plate favored Pitt County Post 39 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Wayne County Post 11 stormed right back during its final at-bat Wednesday evening.

Zack Mozingo swatted the game-winning hit into the power alley and Post 11 pushed across two unearned runs to cap a come-from-behind, 6-5 victory at the Minges-Overton Baseball Complex. Wayne County (7-4 overall) seized sole possession of the Area I East South Division lead at 3-1.

"When it was crunch time, we ended up getting it done," Post 11 head coach Jason Sherrer said.

Pitt County built a 4-1 lead through seven innings behind right-hander Jarrett Ozimek, who scattered seven hits and fanned six Wayne County batters. His bullpen mates, however, couldn't close the deal.

Right-hander Damien Dudley struggled to find the strike zone and surrendered three earned runs in the eighth. Tyler Gainey (2-for-5) trimmed the deficit in half with an RBI single. Justin Barbour knotted the game at 4-all with a two-out, pinch-hit single that plated Jacob Sasser and Gainey.

"A big hit by Barbour," Sherrer said.

Post 39 answered in controversial fashion.

Gray Dixon connected on a lead-off double against Post 11 reliever Hunter Barnett. A botched defensive play on a bunt extended the inning and pushed Dixon into scoring position at third base.

Barnett returned to center field and left-hander Bryant Stafford took over on the mound. Stafford fanned lead-off batter Austin Chiang and worked to a 2-2 count against Zach Holton.

Stafford's next pitch sailed high and deflected off of Ashton Cox's glove behind the plate. Dixon took off for home, Cox chased after the ground ball and threw it to Stafford, who applied the tag as Dixon slid into the plate.

The umpire called Dixon safe.

Sherrer rushed from the dugout to challenge the decision.

"(The umpire) said the guy got in and Stafford tagged him on the hand," Sherrer said. "It was a bang-bang play that could have gone either way. It was a point in the game where emotions were high."

Post 39's pitching staff blew its save opportunity. Barnett reached on a third-strike wild pitch to start the ninth and moved into scoring position on Jamie Dove's sacrifice bunt.

Barnett beat the throw to the plate on Cameron Taylor's fielder's choice. After an error on an infield bunt, Mozingo knocked in Taylor for a 6-5 advantage.

"We got some guys on, did some small-ball stuff and got a big hit by Zack," Sherrer said. "We had some good at-bats late that I'd like to see more early in the game. Stafford came in and threw very well."

Stafford surrendered a lead-off single in the ninth, but retired the next three batters to notch his first-ever Senior Legion win. Mozingo received a no-decision for a 105-pitch, six-inning outing.