GOLDSBORO - One inning might have told the story Thursday evening, but the week-long performance by Southern Wayne’s baseball team spoke volumes.
The Saints continue to search for their identity, but found some much-needed confidence with a series sweep of county and Eastern Carolina 3A-4A rival Eastern Wayne.
Richard Noble received a big, first-inning cushion from his teammates and filed his longest outing on the mound during an 8-3 conquest of the Warriors. Noble hurled 106 pitches and filed a season-high 11 strikeouts in the scorebook.
“Getting the lead early gave Richard some confidence,” said SW head coach Trae McKee. “He threw the ball really well and I thought AD [Alex Davis] did a good job closing.”
Southern Wayne seized a 5-0 lead during its first at-bat.
A couple of errant throws, Will Pennington’s two-RBI single and a double steal provided Noble with plenty of wiggle room on the bump.
The right-hander didn’t disappoint.
Using an effective arsenal of pitches, Noble kept the Warriors guessing at the plate during the 2-hour, 22-minute affair. His variety of speeds allowed him to sit EW down in order in the second and third innings, and induce a momentum-breaking double-play grounder in the fourth.
The Warriors (0-6 overall, 0-4 ECC) left runners on the corners in the fifth when Noble coerced Sam Rice to hit a deep fly ball that died at the warning track.
Noble lost his shutout bid in the sixth and departed the bump in the seventh. Davis tossed 2/3 innings of two-strikeout relief, which clinched the Saints’ third straight victory over their cross-county rival.
“We had a little miscue there late,” McKee said.
Southern Wayne (2-4, 2-4) collected eight hits on the day, including two each from lead-off man Carson Daly and No. 9 hitter Alex Ferrell. The duo combined for two RBI, which both came in a three-run, seventh-inning outburst.
Davis, Pennington, Wyatt Womble and Josh Wall provided one hit apiece.
“We had a couple of two-out hits there at the end, couple of two-out hits with runners at third [early], so I thought we did a good job there,” McKee said.