05/18/18 — New coach, new home for WC Post 11

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New coach, new home for WC Post 11

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 18, 2018 7:38 AM

Wayne County Post 11 launches its 2018 campaign with a new skipper and a new home this summer.

Adam Pate, a former player, makes his debut as head coach against Morehead City on Saturday morning. First pitch is 11 a.m. at Big Rock Stadium.

The team returns to its former diamond -- the newly-renovated Goldsboro High School for a 13-game slate. Post 11 had played its home contests at either the University of Mount Olive or Southern Wayne for nearly the past two decades. UMO is a pitcher's park, while SW is a hitter's paradise, particularly in the power alley.

"They've done good things with their [high school] program, which has come a long ways," Pate said. "Their field is certainly suitable to host a Legion program during the summers and we're excited to be playing there.

"We're in a central location...middle of our county and we hope we get a lot of fan support."

Eight players return off last year's team that posted 14 wins and advanced to the semifinals of the Area I East Division playoffs.

The experienced core is joined by 17 newcomers -- a mixture of sophomores, juniors and seniors selected by a coaching staff that kept a watchful eye on each of them during the high school season.

It's the program's largest group in more than a decade.

Pate undoubtedly relishes the talent level.

"Getting the seniors in the county is always huge," Pate said. "They're the oldest and most seasoned with experience, physical development and all of that good stuff.

"Senior Legion is usually loaded with seniors who are leaving high school and going to college, but we do have a good group of underclassmen on this team that will hopefully contribute to the Legion program for years to come."

The strength?

Pate says pitching.

A total of 10 hurlers are on this year's roster. That includes Division I signees Jonathan "JP" Peacock (N.C. Central) and Chance Howard (Charlotte). The duo combined to throw 34-plus innings on a staff that filed a team earned run average of 4.06 a year ago.

It was the highest ERA since the 2009 team finished with a 6.38 mark.

"We do have pitching depth...starting pitching and our bullpen," said Pate, who noted that Legion games have been reduced from nine to seven innings this season.

"So many arms are very talented. That's probably the main thing that sticks out to me as a coach looking ahead to the season."

Post 11 can swing the sticks, too.

Nolan Harrell, who saw limited playing time, logged the team's second-highest batting average (.395) a year ago. The C.B. Aycock senior recorded 15 hits and drove in nine runs.

UMO signee Kolby Harris filed a .348 average with six extra-base knocks and 11 RBI. Southeastern CC commit Lance Wise hit .340 with 10 RBI.

Wayne County batted .301 as a team.

"You can rely on pitching and defense for a lot of your games, but sometimes the game and the circumstances may call for a slugfest," Pate said. "I definitely think we can hit with a lot of teams we're going to play against because of the guys we have.

"I think we're going to be able to swing it."

Post 11 also faces Jacksonville on Saturday. After a day layoff, Pate's squad comes home Monday to face Wake Forest.

It's part of a challenging 24-game schedule that includes meetings against perennial state power Wilmington, Wallace and a rematch with Jacksonville in the Pitt County Classic in mid-June.

Wayne County faces Area I foes Pitt County, Wilson, Kinston, Ahoskie, Edenton and Farmville in a home-and-away series.

"We want to play the best teams [and] we want to consider ourselves one of the best," Pate said. "To do that, we have to play the best teams to get us there. That's how you get better, no doubt.

"You're going to have to beat us. We're going to come right at you...don't ever want us to play on our heels, be hesitant. We're need to go at it with everything we have."

Chance Howard (Rosewood, Sr., P/U); Carson Smitherman (C.B. Aycock, Sr., U); Kolby Harris (Rosewood, Sr., P); Case Kermode (Wayne Country Day, Jr. C/OF); Jonathan "JP" Peacock (Rosewood, Sr., P); Blake Gipson (C.B. Aycock, Sr., C/U); Josh Hartsfield (Goldsboro, Soph., IF/P); Jack Casbarro (Southern Wayne, Sr., IF/P); Conner Vernon (Rosewood, Sr., OF); Blake Dilda (C.B. Aycock, Soph., OF); Luke Frederick (C.B. Aycock, Sr., OF/P); Tanner Capps (Rosewood, Soph., DH); Tucker Chapin (Rosewood, Sr., P/U); Lance Wise (Southern Wayne, Sr., C); Aryc Chrisman (Southern Wayne, Sr., P/U); Andrew Fricks (Eastern Wayne, Soph., OF); Avery Browning (Wayne Country Day, Jr., OF); Colby Miller (Eastern Wayne, Jr., IF); Will Uzzell (Eastern Wayne, Soph., OF); Christian Yarbrough (Spring Creek, Sr., U); Ryan Sullivan (Eastern Wayne, Jr., P); Justin Edwards (Southern Wayne, Jr., P); Nolan Harrell (C.B. Aycock, Sr., DH); Landon Ginn (Eastern Wayne, Soph., U); Tyler Daniels (C.B. Aycock, Sr., IF).


19 -- at Morehead City (vs. Morehead, Jacksonville); 21 -- Wake Forest; 22 -- Apex; 24 -- Garner.


2 -- Morehead City; 3 -- Edenton (DH); 7 -- Kinston; 9 -- at Whiteville (DH); 11 -- at Farmville; 13 -- Cary; 14 -- Farmville; 16 -- Wilmington & Wallace (at Pitt County Classic); 17 -- Jacksonville (at Pitt County Classic); 18 -- Wilson; 21 -- at Kinston; 24 -- Ahoskie (DH); 26 -- at Pitt County; 27 -- Pitt County; 30 -- at Wilson.