In a game that lasted almost three and half hours and saw a combined 33 hits, Wayne County Post 11 prevailed against Kinston Post 43 with a 17-11 victory on Friday night at Scarborough Field.
With the win, Post 11 has now won four games in a row since dropping its season-opener against Lexington Post 7.
“I think we did a good job of scoring early. Then we hit a little bit of a lull in the game where the offense really let up off the gas, and they kept scoring,” Wayne County Post 11 head coach Adam Pate said.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Post 11 got its bats going early.
Facing a bases-loaded situation with two outs on the board, Braeden Collins hit a bases-clearing triple.
Collins would later steal home, while Will Harris’ RBI single put Post 11 up 5-1.
“That was huge. That was the big swing by Collins. We got a few walks that inning, and he hit the ball into the gap,” Pate said. “That was huge to respond like that after giving up a run in that first inning.”
However, Kinston would not go away and continued to stay in the ball game. Post 43 cut Wayne County’s lead down to 5-4 in the top of the second.
Rowan Watt stole home in the bottom of the second, and Tanner Capps hit an RBI single to increase Post 11’s lead to 7-4.
Kinston scored one run in the top of the third, but in the bottom of the inning, Post 11 scored five more runs.
Davis Albert got on the base thanks to a Kinston error, and Albert scored off another RBI single from Harris.
Austin Booth drew a walk, while Watt hit a single to load the bases. Will Albert then hit a sacrifice fly, and Drew Spencer hit a two-RBI single.
Sam Rice’s RBI single scored the inning’s fifth run and gave Post 11 a 12-5 advantage.
“Offensively, I thought we did a good job collectively speaking,” Pate said.
It looked like Post 11 would cruise to a victory, but Kinston kept battling and chipping away at Post 11’s lead.
Kinston held Post 11 scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, and Kinston eventually pulled within 12-11 in the top of the sixth inning.
“Kind of keep chipping away and keep playing, and that’s easier said than done,” Pate said about the fourth and fifth inning lull. “If their pitcher finds a groove or we run into some bad luck, then it’s hard to keep scoring like that when you score that many runs early.
“I told them to ‘keep on having good at-bats and string good at-bats together.”
Post 11’s bats got hot again in the bottom of the sixth. Post 11 would score five more runs to build its lead back up to 17-11.
Reliever Carson Gipson then shut the door on Post 43 in the top of the seventh.
“Carson did a really good job of holding them at bay. He came into a tough spot and had several good strikeouts,” Pate said. “Guys like that are going to be what keeps our team going.”
Wayne County will next face Durham Post 416 on Monday at Scarborough Field. It will be Post 11’s fifth game in six days.
“We’ve played four games in four days, and that’s tough when these kids are used to playing two games a week and practicing around that,” Pate said. “We’ve traveled a lot, and the goal is to be battled-tested when we get later into the season.”