05/03/13 — Grace-Sanford snaps Wayne Christian's CCC tournament-title streak

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Grace-Sanford snaps Wayne Christian's CCC tournament-title streak

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 3, 2013 1:47 PM

Wayne Christian's youth finally took center stage at a critical time

The Eagles committed five critical errors in an 11-3 loss to Grace Christian of Sanford in the semifinals of the Carolina Christian 1-A Conference tournament on Thursday evening.

The Crusaders face Cape Fear Christian in tonight's finals and the winner gets the automatic bid to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state playoffs.

Grace snapped Wayne Christian's string of eight consecutive ECC tournament championships.

Playing with no juniors or seniors on their roster, the Eagles grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Brandon Price delivered a two-out, two-run double. Price later scored on a Grace Christian error to extend Wayne Christian's lead to 3-0.

The Eagles wouldn't score again.

Shane Farnsworth's infield single and some aggressive base running scored two runs to pull the Crusaders to within 3-2 in the top of the third inning.

Nathan Holt's RBI double and a Wayne Christian error put Grace Christian in front for good at 4-3 in the top of the fifth. The Crusaders sent 22 batters to the plate during the final three innings.

Grace took advantage of two more Eagles' errors in the sixth inning to break the game open. Holt supplied a two-run double and Jason Oldham drove home a run with an infield single as the margin swelled to 9-3.

The Crusaders used four hits and an error to cap their scoring in the top of the seventh.

"You give five or six outs to a team like that, they're going to capitalize and that's what happened," Wayne Christian head coach Curt Hinton said. "We're young with no juniors or seniors and they've done a good job of letting things like that go."

Grace Christian starting pitcher Aaron Ayers surrendered just one hit during the final four innings. Ayers allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits, struck out five and walked in a complete-game effort.

"We've done that a lot this year where we'll jump out on top early and then we're struggling to get a hit," Hinton said. "We've got to hit better throughout every inning."

The Eagles fell to 11-4 overall.