03/26/13 — County rivals CBA, So. Wayne play pivotal first-half ECC baseball game

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County rivals CBA, So. Wayne play pivotal first-half ECC baseball game

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 26, 2013 1:48 PM

Take a pair of county rivals, add in pivotal ground in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference standings and what you've got is a must-see showdown.

ECC foes Charles B. Aycock and Southern Wayne collide today in Dudley with just a game separating the teams in the league standings.

Aycock has reeled off five straight wins since a 5-4 loss on March 13 at South Johnston. The Golden Falcons are averaging 9.3 runs per game and hitting .351 as a team.

Noah West leads Aycock with a .538 batting average and four other Golden Falcons are hitting .400 or better. Aycock is also 35 for 38 in stolen-base attempts.

The Golden Falcons have posted a team earned run average of 2.35 and have seven pitchers who have combined to tally 87 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings pitched.

Aycock (9-2 overall, 4-1 ECC) has demonstrated the ability to win in multiple ways. The Golden Falcons have scored 10 or more runs five different times, and showed some grit in rallying from an early 6-2 hole to defeat Wilson Hunt 7-6 last week.

Three of the Aycock's four ECC wins have come on the road, a fact that can't be overvalued in a conference bursting at the seams with balance.

Southern Wayne (7-3, 3-2) has been no stranger to close ballgames since each of its past four outings have been decided by two runs or fewer. The Saints are 3-1 in those contests. Sophomore catcher Jacob Hollingsworth has delivered game-winning hits in back-to-back games.

Junior varsity call-ups Cole and Hunter Barwick have provided a spark to Southern Wayne's lineup and Jacob Sasser supplies power in the heart of the order. Sasser has also embraced the closer's role for the Saints and his 3 2/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief were critical in a 6-4 win at North Lenoir last Friday.

Saints' head coach Trae McKee continues to learn more about his team each time it takes the field as players attempt to fill voids left by nine seniors who graduated a year ago. McKee has been forced to utilize small ball more this year than in seasons past with the absence of multiple power hitters in the lineup.

Southern Wayne has won its last three meetings with C.B. Aycock and the Saints are 4-0 this season at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.

If the early portion of the ECC schedule is any indication, today's battle in Dudley won't just be a baseball game -- it should be a seven-inning war.

And, until the dust settles anything is possible.