Wayne County to face Edenton
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 11, 2012 1:48 PM
DUDLEY -- Wayne County Post 11 opens defense of its Area I championship in unusual fashion Thursday evening.
Instead of playing at home, it has to travel.
Edenton Post 40 requested the schedule change since it shares Hicks Field with Coastal Plain League member Edenton, which plays host to Wilson on Friday. First pitch is 7 p.m. in Game 1 of the best-of-three opening-round, Area I East playoff series.
Game 2 is Friday at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex and an "if" game is slated for Saturday evening in Dudley.
In the other first-round series, Pitt County plays host to Ahoskie, Rocky Mount entertains New Bern and Wilson is the guest of Kinston.
Wayne County (13-6 overall) shared the South Division title with Pitt County and drew the No. 1 seed since it swept the regular-season series. Post 11 ousted Edenton from the playoffs a year ago and has prevailed in three of four postseason series against Post 40 since 1995.
"We haven't heard that much about Edenton," Post 11 assistant coach Jackson Massey said. "We'll find out everything we need to know about them that first game. I know in Game 1 we'll be throwing our best (pitcher) and I'm sure they'll be throwing their best.
"We have to jump on them early, get into their bullpen and make them use as many arms as they can. We have to keep our arms fresh. Every pitcher we roll out there needs to give us five or six quality innings."
Massey didn't reveal the Post 11 starter for Game 1.
Wayne County's staff of nine hurlers has compiled a 3.14 team earned run average (ERA) in 146 innings of work this summer. Mount Olive College signee Hunter Barnett (0.00 ERA) and Guilford Tech signee Jeremy Taylor (3.13 ERA) have logged three wins apiece. Taylor has tossed a team-leading 37.3 innings.
Post 11 pitchers have compensated -- at times -- for an offense that is hitting below .300 as a team and has left a whopping 177 runners on base.
"It took us a while before we could put together a complete game," Massey said. "Once we got into conference (play), we'd hit the ball and our pitching was bad, or our pitching was good and we couldn't hit the ball. It's been tough sometimes because this team is really one that comes on late in the game.
"Me and (head) Coach (Jason) Sherrer were talking the other day and we had a tough time remembering when we've scored a lot of runs early in the game instead of late in the game."
Wayne County is 5-2 in games decided by two runs or less this season and has beaten three opponents in walk-off fashion in either regulation or extra innings.
Post 11 has triumphed in eight of its last 10 outings overall with both hiccups coming against South Division nemesis Kinston.
"I've told the guys that it's not always the best team that wins, but the hottest team that wins," Massey said. "We got on a little streak to end the regular season. If that carries over into the playoffs, we'll make a good run."
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