Wayne County Post 11’s Tyler Thompson pitched a complete game, struck out six batters, had zero walks, and allowed just two hits as Post 11 won its playoff opener 4-0 against Kinston Post 43 on Tuesday evening at Jim Perry Field at Campbell University.
“First thing was Tyler Thompson, that was really great to see. He’s had a good summer, and he’s battled through some adversity at times, but he’s pitched really well as of late, and thank goodness for him,” Pate said.
Wayne County opened the game with a run in the bottom of the first inning when Rowan Watt scored off a Kinston error.
After a scoreless second inning, Post 11 added to its lead in the bottom of the third.
Austin Booth singled to lead off the inning. Will Albert then hit a double, while Drew Spencer drove in Booth and Albert with a two-run single.
“We had a few big hits. Drew Spencer had a big hit that scored a couple of runs. Will Albert and Davis Albert looked good in the box,” Pate said. “Offensively, we didn’t play our best, but I thought our team as a whole did enough good things to win, and that’s all that matters.”
Throughout the game, Kinston rarely threatened, but Wayne County found itself in a bit of a jam in the top of the fourth.
Kinston’s Trent King and Zach Taylor both hit singles to lead off the inning. With a runner in scoring position and zero outs on the board, Thompson bounced back to force a flyout.
Thompson then struck out the next two batters he faced to get Wayne County out of the inning.
“Tyler worked his way out of that jam, and that’s when we knew that we were really going to try to ride him as long as we could because he looked great,” Pate said.
Post 11 pulled ahead 4-0 in the fifth inning when Will Albert drew a walk to get on base. Justin Holland’s ground out enabled Albert to reach second base.
With Spencer back in the batter’s box, Albert stole third and then scored off a wild pitch.
“We scored four runs, which a lot of times will give you a chance to win a ballgame, but when Tyler held them at bay like he did and didn’t give up a run, went the distance, kept his pitch count reasonable for seven innings that was just awesome to see,” Pate said.
During the final two innings, Thompson continued to shut down Kinston Post 43, and Wayne County left Jim Perry Field with the victory.
Wayne County continues its run in the Area I East Tournament tonight against Pitt County Post 39 at Rosewood High School.
“I want to see a little better approach offensively, but at the same time to find a way to win,” Pate said. “Whatever it looks like, just find a way to win.”