Kinston Post 43 improves to 5-1 with win over Wayne County Post 11
Kinston Post 43’s Brendon Grant hit a 3-run double in the first inning of a victory over Wayne County Post 11. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
Kinston Post 43 may not have had its usual offensive spark Thursday, but the team continued its strong start.
After defeating Wayne County Post 11 6-4 at the Ronnie Battle Baseball Complex at Kinston High School, Kinston Post 43 is now 5-1 on the season. The first meeting on June 6 ended in a 10-1 Kinston victory, but Post 43 fought throughout in the rematch, using the pitching of Camden Noble and Peyton Howard to get through.
Kinston Post 43 scored double-digit runs in four of its first five games this season, but Coach Ty Eason said strong pitching and reserves stepping up made this victory happen.
“We know when they come in, they’re going to give everything they’ve got,” Eason said. “Peyton and Cam got the job done and it really helps us when you’ve got guys under the magic number of pitches so we can strengthen our bullpen, which will be tough with this upcoming stretch. We missed guys in the lineup today like Trey McLawhorn and Jon Howard (who had other baseball obligations) but other guys stepped up. I’m truly proud of these guys for what we were able to accomplish as a team.”
One of those players was Brendon Grant, who came in with a big hit in the bottom of the first. After Wayne County Post 11 picked up a pair of runs, Kinston Post 43 loaded the bases with two outs, setting the stage for Grant, who hit a 3-run double to make the score 3-2.
“I had really been struggling the past two games and I was able to find a good fastball, which was all I needed,” Grant said. “I was able to make a play and hopefully it’ll help me break out of my slump.”
The score stayed the same until the bottom of the fourth when an RBI single from Everett Oliver, followed by a bases-loaded walk drawn by Cameron Butler and a wild pitch made it 6-2. Wayne County Post 11 picked up two runs on a single and passed ball in the top of the fifth and had a chance to do damage in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs.
Instead, Howard — who pitched the final three innings — elicited a harmless ground ball to end the threat.
“I was trying to locate my fastball and mix in offspeed pitches to get ground balls,” Howard said. “I wasn’t nervous in that situation (in the seventh) — I just took a deep breath and focused more toward Brendon’s glove to get the outs.”
Kinston Post 43 starts a six-game, five-day stretch Saturday with a doubleheader against Ahoskie Post 102 at Hertford County High School, starting at 3 p.m. The team’s next home game is Sunday against Morehead City Post 46 at 7 p.m.