04/06/13 — Wayne Country Day baseball prevails

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Wayne Country Day baseball prevails

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 6, 2013 11:51 PM

Wayne Country Day nearly squandered away Cody Neal's gem of a pitching performance Friday afternoon.

The Chargers rebounded just in time.

Wayne Country Day overcame some shaky defense and scored seven runs in the final three innings of an 11-7 victory over Bethel Christian on the final day of the Charger Diamond Classic.

Neal struck out the first six batters he faced and took a no-hitter into the fourth inning before being plagued by five errors behind him that allowed the Trojans to climb back into the game.

A senior right-hander, Neal surrendered six runs (one earned) on one hit with 11 strikeouts and four walks in 5 1/3 innings to earn the win on the mound.

"That looked like Cody Neal of last year," Chargers' head coach Michael Taylor said. "We haven't seen that from Cody this season. Those first three innings were the best three innings he's pitched all season. That's what we're looking for because he's going to be my bulldog when we get into conference play."

Wayne Country Day took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Neal supplied an RBI double and later scored on a wild pitch. Mason Bland drove home a run on a fielder's choice.

Bland's RBI single in the home half of the fourth increased the Chargers' lead to 4-0.

Bethel capitalized on four Wayne Country Day errors in the top of the fourth inning to score three unearned runs that cut the deficit to 4-3. A fifth Chargers' error plated two more runs as the Trojans grabbed a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning.

"I think with the way Cody was pitching early we got lackadaisical," Taylor said. "It snowballed and the ball kept falling and kept falling. It was a mental thing. We're a young club and I understand that, but they have to understand they can not let that happen."

Wayne Country Day (5-5 overall) immediately rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning and loaded the bases with a single and a pair of walks.

Jacob Parks' infield single scored Bland to tie the game at 5-5. John Strickland and Parks both raced home on passed balls. Parker Smith added a sacrifice fly as the Chargers went ahead for good at 8-5.

Bethel picked up single runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Wayne Country Day tacked on three more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Strickland and Wyatt Bland both contributed sacrifice flies and Neal scored on a balk.

The Chargers begin the heart of their Coastal Plains Independent 1-A Conference schedule on Tuesday at Oakwood.

"I really thought today and Wednesday we swung the bats a little bit better than we have been," Taylor said. "We're still striking out a little too much and looking. If we're going to strike out go hacking. We'll grow from it and learn from it and we're getting better every day."