Wayne County survives, sweeps regular-season series from Post 39
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 30, 2012 11:04 PM
WINTERVILLE -- Another grinder and hopefully a momentum builder.
Two defensive miscues and Hunter Barnett's ninth-inning, two-out single helped drive Wayne County Post 11 to an 8-5 triumph over Pitt County Post 39 on a balmy Friday evening.
Wayne County (8-5 overall) regained sole possession of the Area I East South Division lead at 4-2, and swept Pitt County in regular-season play for the first time since 2009.
"Another grinder, but a good job," Post 11 head coach Jason Sherrer said. "We came back from that tough loss last night (to Kinston). It was real hot, the guys played through it and came out on top.
"A huge win ... big."
Post 11 survived despite a season-high 16 strikeouts, four errors and a 4-for-16 performance with runners in scoring position. Barnett, lead-off batter Cameron Taylor and Duane Gurganus each cranked out a timely multiple-RBI hit at different points in the game.
Collin DuBose supplied a run-scoring single.
"I don't know the numbers of how many guys we left on base, but I think we had five strikeouts in the first six outs," said Sherrer, whose team stranded 11 men, including six at either second or third base.
"Their guy (Damien Jenkins) was throwing strikes ... we were swinging at balls, taking strikes and we adjusted, scratched some things together from there."
The right-handed Jenkins logged eight strikeouts through the first three innings, but trailed 4-0. Taylor broke the scoreless tie with a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle in the second. Gurganus plated two runs in the same fashion in the third.
Pitt County answered.
Three infield errors, including a collision in foul territory, sparked a four-run outburst capped by Thomas Conlon's three-run homer over the left-field fence. Charlie Herring drove in lead-off batter Austin Chiang with an RBI fielder's choice.
"If we can clean up our defense ..." Sherrer said. "Every time we give them outs, it gives them another chance to put runs on the board. That's what we've been struggling with (this season) when we need to get outs ... fly balls we need to catch, routine balls we need to make.
"When it happens to us, it just snowballs."
Bryant Battle's solo home run, in nearly the same spot as Conlon's, staked Post 39 to a 5-4 lead after five innings. But just like two nights ago, Pitt County's bullpen couldn't shut the door on Post 11.
Reliever Nixon Floyd failed to protect the slim advantage in the sixth. The left-hander walked Gurganus and gave up an infield bunt single to Barnett. Two errors and DuBose's single into right center field pushed Wayne County back in front 6-5.
Barnett held Pitt County (9-4, 4-3) at bay in the seventh and eighth, and delivered his critical insurance hit during a nine-pitch at-bat in the ninth against right-hander Brock Rouse. Post 11 southpaw Bryant Stafford threw the ninth and collected his first-ever save on the Senior Legion scene.
DuBose emerged the winning pitcher. The Mount Olive signee yielded five runs (one earned) on six hits in a five-inning stint.
Wayne County, which has prevailed in four of its last five outings, plays host to Wilson Post 13 on Monday and Kinston Post 43 on Tuesday.
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