WINTERVILLE – Noah Overton and Josh Hartsfield combined to throw a two-hitter, but Pitt Post 39 claimed a 3-1 decision over Wayne County Post 11 at the Pitt Community College diamond Wednesday evening.
The loss evens the Area I East Division playoff series 1-1 and snaps Wayne County’s 11-game win streak. The winner of the best of five series will face Kinston Post 42 in the Area I East Championship series.
“Nothing went our way, but that’s baseball,” Wayne County Post 11 head coach Adam Pate said. “It wasn’t our night, but the guys kept playing, and we did a lot of things well.”
Overton fanned four Post 39 batters and allowed two hits in three and one-third innings. Hartsfield tossed three strikeouts and gave up one hit in three and two-thirds innings of work. Case Kermode paced Wayne County’s offense with two hits, two doubles and a walk, while Clay Matthews hit a single.
“I can’t say enough about him (Hartsfield),” Pate said. “He has done so much well this summer, at switching roles being a starter, reliever or closer. He’s embraced his role, and that’s the epitome of a good teammate.
“That’s why he has so much success on the field, and that’s why his teammates love him. He’s had some rough outings recently, but he looked dominant. I’m happy for him.”
Post 39 seized a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Jake Lysaght hit a sacrifice fly. One inning later, Post 39 increased its lead to 3-0 when Shane Rademacher and Ryker Galaska crossed home on back-to-back wild pitches.
Wayne County avoided the shutout in the sixth inning. Clay Matthews singled, stole second and scored on an RBI-double by Kermode.
Post 39 answered with reliever Mitchell Hofler, who induced Blake Gipson to fly out and Tanner Capps to ground out to get the final two outs of the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Wayne County attempted one final rally, Will Uzzell drew a walk to get on base, but Hofler got Will Albert to fly out and Logan Price to strike out.
Down to their last out, Tanner Willman stepped up to the plate and drilled the ball, but Uzzell was tagged out to second to seal the win for Post 39.
“We played well, and we didn’t do a lot of things bad,” Pate said. “We just didn’t have many things go our way.”