SOCASTEE, S.C. - Wayne County Post 11 launched its weekend trip to the Palmetto State in victorious fashion Friday evening.
Nate Smith and Logan Merritt each swatted a home run during a 10-5 conquest of Frederick (Maryland) Post 11 on the Socastee High School baseball diamond.
Smith cleared the ballpark with a two-strike pitch in the second inning. It was his team-leading fourth “yard” shot this season.
Carter Aycock stole home in the fifth and Braeden Collins drove in Drew Sweet on a two-out single to left field. Wayne County led 3-0 before Frederick answered with a game-tying rally in the bottom half of the fifth.
Wayne County responded.
Smith opened the sixth inning with a lead-off walk and advanced to second on Will Pennington’s sacrifice bunt. Andrew Crumpler replaced Smith on the base path and appeared he’d get stranded after an infield groundout.
With two outs, Alex Ferrell walked.
Aycock plated Crumpler with a double and Ferrell took third. Anderson Clucas knocked in Ferrell with a single that pushed Aycock to third. Richard Noble replaced Clucas as a courtesy runner.
Lane McLean provided the eventual game-winning hit, an RBI bunt single that plated Aycock. Noble scored on Collins’ RBI double to center field. Two pitches later, Merritt mashed his second home run of the season - a three-run shot over the left-field wall.
Merritt (three RBI), Collins (two RBI) and Aycock (RBI) paced Wayne County’s offense with two hits apiece. McLean batted 1-for-2 with two RBI. Merritt and Clucas each provided one hit.
Aycock, Ferrell and McLean combined to steal five bases.
Pennington started on the bump and held Frederick scoreless in four innings. The University of Mount Olive signee yielded one hit, walked one and logged two strikeouts.
Clucas earned the win in relief.
Wayne County (15-3 overall) improved to 5-2 all-time against out-of-state opposition. It returns to action today against St. Clairsville (Ohio) Post 159 at Mike Johnson Park in Georgetown, South Carolina. Game time is 5 p.m.