GOLDSBORO - A mixture of new faces hasn’t seemed to disrupt Wayne County Post 11’s team chemistry on the baseball diamond.
Monday evening was a perfect example.
Newcomer Nate Smith crushed two home runs and Richard Noble threw three solid innings during a 9-6, non-division triumph over Pitt County Post 39.
Smith’s first-inning swat erased a 3-0 deficit.
After two quick outs, Logan Merritt and Braeden Collins connected on back-to-back singles to left field. Two pitches later, Smith drilled a shot over the left-field fence.
“Get some legs!” a teammate yelled from the dugout as he watched the ball clear The Nest at Rosewood High School.
Smith trotted around the bases and tapped helmets with Merritt and Collins after he crossed the plate.
“That was huge,” Post 11 head coach Adam Pate said.
Wayne County extended its advantage to 6-3 on Mason Moffett’s second-inning RBI single, Smith’s third-inning solo homer and Andrew Crumpler’s run-scoring base knock.
Pitt closed the gap to 6-5 before Post 11 answered again.
Collins plated Merritt with an RBI double and scored on an RBI groundout by Smith.
“That was his best at-bat,” Pate said of Smith. “He shortened up [his swing] and got the ball in play to score us a run. That’s the kind of player he is, does anything he can for his team and we’re excited to have him with us.
Moffett provided an RBI double in the eighth.
Noble (1-0) tossed 3 1/3 innings of two-hit, three-strikeout relief. The right-hander threw eight first-pitch strikes.
Bullpen mates Anderson Clucas, Carter Gipson and Carson Gipson supplied four innings of seven-hit, three-strikeout relief. Carson Gipson earned the save.
“Any time you can keep putting runs on the board, you give yourself a chance and take pressure off your pitching staff,” Pate said. “I thought we did a good job of that.”
Post 11 turned two double plays defensively and forced Post 39 to leave 12 runners on base.
Moffett, Collins and Smith (five RBI) combined for six of Wayne County’s 10 hits. Logan Merritt, Davis Albert, Landon Sutton and Crumpler each had one hit.
Wayne County (2-1 overall) returns home Wednesday to face Wake Forest. Game time is 7 p.m.