04/19/13 — Saints drop heartbreaker to Trojans

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Saints drop heartbreaker to Trojans

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 19, 2013 1:47 PM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne didn't back down when it spotted South Johnston a three-run, first-inning lead on Thursday evening.

The Saints fought back and tied the game.

But they couldn't get that one timely hit and the Trojans did in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference contest. Austin Raynor delivered the game-winning, two-out RBI single in the fourth inning and South Johnston escaped with a 4-3 victory on the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex baseball diamond.

The Trojans (13-4 overall, 8-2 ECC) earned their first-ever regular-season series sweep over the Saints and remained in position to win their first league championship since 2007 when they competed in the Cape Fear Valley 3-A Conference.

The Saints (11-9) tumbled into a three-way tie with Eastern Wayne and Cleveland for fourth place in the league at 4-6.

"I was proud of the way we scratched back, didn't put our head down," Southern Wayne head coach Trae McKee said. "I was really pleased to see us play together as a team, play together like it meant something tonight after a tough one Tuesday.

"I thought they played with a lot of heart, lot of guts."

Three first-inning defensive miscues along with a hit and walk helped South Johnston claim a 3-0 advantage. Southern Wayne turned a 6-4-3 double play and Cody Wendorf induced an inning-ending pop fly to avoid any further damage.

Wendorf, working on two days rest, wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning and got some run support.

Trojans right-hander Lane Johnson plunked Jacob Sasser and surrendered a base hit to Taylor Raynor. Sasser moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and stayed at third base when Hunter Barwick drew a six-pitch walk.

Sasser scored on Johnson's second wild pitch of the inning and Raynor raced home on Nathan Barwick's sharply-hit single to right field. Garrad Whitfield knotted the game at 3-3 with a fielder's choice groundout.

"We had a couple of fortunate bounces," SJ head coach Keith Durham said. "Southern, you know they are not going to let down and hit right back in the game. They had a huge inning ... found the gaps and had a great rally.

"Then it was a dogfight to the end."

Wendorf found a comfort zone with his off-speed stuff and retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced. A lead-off walk to Bailey Coe in the fourth and a wild pitch set the table for Raynor's decisive hit. Wendorf worked six innings and Sasser threw the seventh.

The Saints left the bases loaded in the third and stranded the game-tying run in scoring position in each of the fourth, sixth and seventh innings. McKee's team left 10 men on base for the game.

"(The big hit) is going to come," said a confident McKee.