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GOLDSBORO — A Wilson Post 13 American Legion baseball team that initially struggled to solve the riddle of Wayne County Post 11 now stands one win away from a trip to the Area I Eastern Division finals.
Wilson grabbed a lead on the campus of Goldsboro High on Wednesday night and held off a late Wayne County rally en route to recording a 6-5 victory in game three of the best-of-5 series.
The result gives Wilson (8-8), the No. 4 and final seed in the Area I East postseason, a 2-1 lead in the series. Post 13 can book its second straight trip to the Area I East championship series with a win in Game 4, which will be contested at Beddingfield High on Thursday at 7. Should the series be extended to a fifth game, it will be held in Goldsboro on Friday night.
Wayne County, the regular-season champion in Area I East, fell to 22-4.
In the other Area I East semifinal, No. 2 seed Pitt County Post 39 swept through its series with No. 3 seed Kinston Post 43, winning the final game 12-9 on Wednesday night.
Wilson presented with the most players it has carried in the postseason Wednesday, taking 14 on the road to oppose Post 11.
“I feel like we’ve been counted out by a lot,” Wilson head coach Noah Edens said. “We’re hitting the ball with runners in scoring position and getting that hit. We’re getting that hit and playing good defense.”
Alston Pittman and Tyler Sherrod had home runs for Post 13 to back a strong five-inning performance from starter Jaelynn Melton. After Wayne County took a 1-0 lead in the second, Matt Jacobs put Wilson in the lead with a two-run double in the fourth. Pittman launched his first home run in the fifth, a two-run shot, and in the seventh, Tyler Sherrod deposited a solo homer, his fourth, over the fence for a 6-1 cushion.
Melton allowed three of Wayne County’s seven hits, striking out three and walking two.
However, Wilson had to endure a furious Post 11 rally in the seventh.
With closer Parker Garris three outs from victory, Wayne County pushed across four runs with the aid of two walks. Post 11 placed the tying and winning runs in scoring position, but Garris, who struck out two over his outing, induced a ground ball to third base to end it.
Tucker Chapin took the loss for Wayne County, which outhit Wilson 7-6. Case Kermode was 2 for 4 to lead Post 11.
Edens, also the Beddingfield High coach, reported that Tyler Wells would be the Game 4 starter for Wilson.
Score by innings:
Wilson 000 230 1 — 6
Wayne County 010 000 4 — 5
WP-Jaelynn Melton (4-1) 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO. LP-Tucker Chapin.
LEADING HITTERS — Wilson: Alston Pittman 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, Tyler Sherrod 1-3, HR, RBI, Josh Fuller 1-4, Matt Jacobs 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, Dom Gaetano 1-2; Wayne County: Blake Gipson 1-4, Case Kermode 2-4, Aryc Chrisman 1-3.