Area I East Semifinals: Sasser delivers game-winning RBI double
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 19, 2012 1:50 PM
DUDLEY -- Jacob Sasser's teammates call him "Sasquatch."
He was "Mr. Clutch" on Wednesday evening.
Sasser lined a two-strike RBI double that accounted for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and Wayne County Post 11 earned a series-clinching, 4-3 victory over Kinston Post 43 on Wednesday evening.
Post 11 faces Pitt County Post 39 in the Area I East championship series (best-of-five) on Friday. Game 1 is 7 p.m. at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.
Kinston right-hander Garrett Blackburn limited Post 11 to just four hits, the last of which came off the bat of Sasser in the eighth inning and scored Zack Mozingo from second base to put Wayne County in front for good.
Sasser went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and was also hit by a pitch.
"Just to be in that situation and get that hit, it was awesome," Sasser said. "The first pitch was a curveball down in the zone called a strike. The second pitch was outside, I check swung and I got another strike.
"Then he left that curveball up and I took it to left field. I hit it pretty good."
Wayne County starter Cameron Taylor tossed 6 2/3 solid innings and surrendered two earned runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Taylor settled for the no-decision.
Despite not having pitched in several weeks, Taylor consistently got ahead of hitters, worked down in the strike zone and let his defense make plays behind him. Center fielder Hunter Barnett made a running catch on Jeremiah Lanier's deep fly ball to end the top of the second inning with runners on first and third base.
"I think Cameron had two starts before tonight," Wayne County head coach Jason Sherrer said. "Our pitching is kind of depleted and Cameron is always a guy who throws strikes. He did that tonight."
Wayne County (17-7 overall) needed just one hit to push across two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Collin DuBose drew a lead-off walk and Sasser was hit by a pitch. Tyler Gainey's two-out bloop double scored DuBose and Sasser to put Wayne County in front 2-0.
DuBose reached on an infield single in the home half of the third inning and scored on Sasser's two-out RBI single.
Taylor held Post 43 scoreless until Chastin Radford's RBI single in the top of the fifth inning closed the gap to 3-1. Radford tallied three of Kinston's six hits and added two RBI.
Radford delivered an RBI double in the top of the seventh inning that cut Post 11's lead to 3-2. Kinston had the tying run on first base, but Wayne County reliever Bryant Stafford got Josh Harris to ground out to end the inning.
Post 43 loaded the bases against Stafford with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Lanier was hit by a pitch with two outs to force in the game-tying run. Stafford struck out Radford looking to work out of trouble.
Stafford surrendered one run in 1 1/3 innings of relief and picked up the win on the mound.
Kinston's Mikal Batts drew a two-out walk from Mozingo in the top of the ninth inning to load the bases. Mozingo struck out Caleb Kearney to end the ballgame and recorded the save. Post 43 left the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth inning, finished with 13 runners left on base.
"Stafford and Mozingo tried to be too fine here and there and ended up walking some guys," Sherrer said. "They came back and trusted their stuff in the strike zone, and when you throw strikes good things happen."
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