04/17/13 — Dixon throws one-hit gem for Warriors

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Dixon throws one-hit gem for Warriors

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 17, 2013 1:47 PM

The hottest race in high school baseball got a little bit hotter on Tuesday night.

Eastern Wayne got a one-hit shutout from starting pitcher Josh Dixon and topped Southern Wayne 3-0 on the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference baseball scene.

The win moved the Warriors (8-8 overall, 4-5 ECC) into a tie with the Saints (11-8, 4-5) for the fourth and final spot in the state playoffs with three league games remaining. The teams split the regular-season series.

"We didn't talk about it before the game, but this one was a must-win," Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum said. "I am proud of our guys' effort and this win gets us right back in the mix for a potential playoff spot."

The Saints threatened in the top of the first when Thomas Kelly was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Kelly was sacrificed to third with just one out, but the rally fell short when the next two batters grounded out.

Eastern Wayne took advantage in the bottom of the first. Ryan Faucette singled and was sacrificed to second base. Tyler Huetter followed with an RBI single to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.

"We have had multiple times where we have had guys in scoring position and less than two out s and failed to score," Southern Wayne head coach Trae McKee said. "It happened in the first inning tonight, we didn't get that run in and right away we were down 1-0."

Eastern Wayne added two runs in the fourth inning.

Zack Smith led off the inning and reached on a Southern Wayne error. Smith stole second and scored on the Saints second error of the inning, which allowed Ryan Warren to reach safely. M.J. Morgan delivered an RBI single to put the Warriors ahead 3-0.

The lead would be more than enough for Dixon. The Warriors' right-hander went all seven innings and allowed just one hit -- a lead-off single to Jacob Hollingsworth in the fifth inning. Dixon threw just 64 pitches in the complete-game performance.

"I think Josh threw about 90-percent strikes," Fulghum said. "He got ahead with his off-speed stuff and he located his fastball. When you do that, good things tend to happen."

Holingsworth took the loss for the Saints after allowing one run over one inning of work. Kevin Williams lasted five innings and did not permit an earned run.

"The one thing we can take from tonight is that we found another pitcher," McKee said. "Kevin did an excellent job. He shouldn't have given up any runs, but we made a couple errors behind him that cost us."

Southern Wayne plays host to South Johnston on Thursday. Eastern Wayne travels to New Bern today.