Wayne County Post 11 pitcher Tanner McKeel

Wayne County Post 11 pitcher Tanner McKeel throws a pitch in the fourth inning of Post 11’s game against Pitt County Post 39.

Wayne County Post 11’s fantastic 2019 season has ended.

No. 2 Post 11 struggled to get its offense going in game three against No. 3 Pitt Post 39 and lost 7-5. In game four, Wayne County lost 5-4 in extra innings.

In game three, Post 39 jumped on Wayne County. With the bases loaded, Cam Jackson hit an RBI single. One batter later, Ryker Galaska’s RBI double put Post 39 up 2-0.

Post 39 added another run in the top of the third inning when Galaska hit an RBI single.

Wayne County managed to get runners on base but struggled to score runs, and in the top of the fourth inning, Wayne County ran into some serious trouble.

With the bases loaded, Caleb Morris drew a walk to make it a 4-0 game. Christopher Hunter scored a run off of a wild a pitch to increase Post 39’s lead to 5-0.

Post 39 still wasn’t done and took a 6-0 lead when Jake Lysaght scored on a passed ball. Jackson’s RBI single made it a 7-0 game.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Wayne County’s offense kicked into gear.

Tanner Capps and Will Uzzell were both hit by pitches, and Logan Merritt drew a walk to load the bases. Blake Dilda stepped into the batter’s box, but rain and lighting put the game into a weather delay.

When the game picked back up Friday afternoon at Pitt Community College, Wayne County continued its mad dash to comeback. Wayne County cut the game to 7-5 but was unable to close the gap.

"We got a good pitching performance from Tanner McKeel after the rain delay. He gave us a chance and held them at bay for seven runs.” Wayne County Post 11 head coach Adam Pate said. “Our offense finally started clicking at the end of that game, and that gave us momentum heading into game four.”

In game four, Post 39 pushed across a run in the bottom half of the second inning. Cam Jackson scored a run on Shae Ward’s RBI double.

Wayne County got on the board when Blake Gipson’s single delivered a run. Later in the top of the fourth inning, Clay Matthews tripled as Wayne County took a 2-1 lead. Matthews then scored from third to increase Wayne County’s lead to 3-1.

Wayne County’s swelled to 4-1, but Post 39 tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh.

“We were doing a lot of things well that last game,” Pate said. “Grinding out at-bats and some timely hits. Blake Gipson and Clay Matthews came up with big hits at the right time, and we got an amazing pitching performance by Josh Hartsfield.”

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Galaska hit a walk-off home run to give Post 39 the victory.

Pitt Post 39 advances to face No. 1 Kinston Post 43 in the finals of Area I East playoffs, while Wayne County finishes the season with a 23-9 overall record.

“This was a special group that was fun to be around,” Pate said. “They loved being around each other. Summer ball can be tough, but these kids wanted to win.

“They had a goal that they were sticking to, and they weren’t ready to jump ship and go hang out for the rest of the summer. They wanted to play ball for a long time. You could see some long faces when the game was over. They realized we were done for the year, but guys raised to a different level really played rear end off, and it was very good to see, and that’s why you coach.”