Wayne County Post 11 prevailed in its home opener against Kenly Post 328 on Thursday evening at Charles B. Aycock High School.
Down 2-0, in the bottom of the first Post 11, fell into a hole but quickly climbed out of it and held off Kenly for a 10-5 win.
“We played well, and I’m definitely happy,” Wayne County Post 11 head coach Adam Pate said.
Anderson Clucas got the start on the mound for Wayne County, and he got off to a rocky start.
Clucas found himself in a bases-loaded situation, and Kenly’s Andrew Crumpler drew a walk to give Kenly a 1-0 lead.
One batter later, Kenly would take a 2-0 lead thanks to Hayden Ballance’s RBI single.
However, Clucas settled down after that and did not give up a run in the second, third and fourth innings.
” I thought we played really well. I thought our pitching was really good at battling through some tough situations,” Pate said. “Clucas to start out with did not have his good stuff, but he bounced back for three good innings.”
In the bottom of the first, Drew Spencer’s RBI single cut Kenly’s lead down to 2-1.
Braeden Collins then pulled Wayne County even with Post 328 at 2-2 with a bases-loaded walk.
The tie was short-lived as Tanner Capp’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second inning gave Wayne County its first lead of the game at 3-2, while Rowan Watt stole home plate to put Wayne County up 4-2.
“Kenly played really well to be still missing some of their players to the high school playoffs,” Pate said. “Kudos to them and their coaches. For being their first game of the year, they were definitely ready to play.”
Wayne County would build up a 5-2 advantage in the bottom of the third, but Kenly closed the gap in the top of the fifth when Daniel Popworth hit a three-run home run off Carter Gipson, who came in to pitch the fifth inning.
“Carter left one pitch over the heart of the plate, and Kenly hit a three-run home run, but literally before that, he didn’t do anything that was detrimental to his outing.
“Carter looked really good.”
But Wayne County once again wasted little time in retaking the lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Justin Holland led off the inning with a double, Garrett Moffett then hit a single, and Davis Albert’s single enabled Holland to score.
Watt then drew a walk, loading the bases for Will Albert, who drove in Moffett with a single.
Capps drew a walk with bases still loaded while Spencer provided a sacrifice fly as Wayne County jumped ahead 9-5.
Will Albert later scored off a wild pitch to put Post 11 up 10-5.
“When things go sour, how are you going to respond? A lot of times, that defines how you are as a team,” Pate said. “It’s all about how you respond, and it was really good to see the boys respond.”
Cohen Waddell came in to pitch the final two innings of the game. Waddell struck out the side in the top of the sixth, and he struck out two of the four batters he faced in the seventh to end the game.
Cohen shutting the door was really good to see. He pitched really well,” Pate said. “Five strikeouts in two innings is pretty good.”
Post 11 is back in action tonight against Hamlet Post 49 at Hamlet Memorial Park.