07/23/12 — Pitt County cruises to mercy-rule win in series opener

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Pitt County cruises to mercy-rule win in series opener

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 23, 2012 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Take the loss.

But certainly don't forget it.

Dalton Britt smashed a third-inning grand slam and Pitt County Post 39 claimed an 18-4, mercy-rule victory over Wayne County Post 11 in Game 1 of the Area I East championship series on a miserably wet Friday evening.

Game 2 was rained out on Saturday night. The best-of-five finals continues today in Winterville, and Game 3 is slated for 7 p.m.  on Monday at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.

Pitt County (16-5 overall) cranked out 14 hits and received some extra help -- nine walks, two hit batsmen and six errors -- to extend several innings. Britt (3-for-5, five RBI) emerged as one of eight Post 39 starters to record at least one hit in the seven-inning affair.

Post 39 tallied 13 unearned runs.

Wayne County right-hander Jeremy Taylor (4-3) permitted an uncharacteristic 12 runs on six hits and five walks. An infield error extended Pitt County's third inning, which eventually led to Britt's bases-clearing shot over the right-field fence.

"Jeremy certainly wasn't at his best and I'm sure he's disappointed. That was probably the worst we've seen him this year and last year, too, and I think he'll be the first one to admit it," said Post 11 assistant coach Jackson Massey of Taylor.

"Everyone we threw in there, they were leaving everything up (in the zone). We can't afford to have that in the playoffs. At the beginning of the season, we talked about how our pitching has to be consistent, especially in a five-game series like this because we can't afford to throw three guys every game..

Austin Hinton and Will Winslow combined for 4 1/3 innings of eight-hit, two-strikeout relief. Pitt County plated six runs during that stretch.

"Austin and Will, that was the first time they've thrown all season," Massey said. "They stepped up, did what we asked them to do and took one for the team."

Wayne County (17-8) scratched out four hits on the night.

Lead-off batter Collin DuBose ended up 2-for-2 with a walk. Tyler Gainey batted 1-for-4 with an RBI, while Ashton Cox delivered a two-RBI double in the third inning.

Post 11 grounded into a pair of double plays and batted 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Wayne County stranded nine runners.

"They beat us in every aspect of the game," Massey said. "They hit the ball. They put pressure on our defense. They kept us quiet offensively. I don't think it was so much about them getting our guys out, I think our guys were trying do too much at the plate when we're down that much.

"We need to realize that when we're down that much, we have to work station to station ... get people on base, move them around and that's how you cut into those leads."