Kinston started the ballgame with a softly-hit infield single and a walk.
With two base runners aboard and no outs, Cohen Waddell didn’t flinch on the mound.
Instead, he wiggled out trouble with a fielder’s choice groundout, an infield pop-up and inning-ending strikeout.
From that point, the Wayne Country Day left-hander seized command of the game. He scattered five hits in 5.3 innings as the Wayne County Jets’ Blue team grounded the Battleship, 9-3, at the Eastern Carolina Athletic Park.
“He’s been really good for us all summer,” Jets Blue head coach Colton Chrisman said. “I’d say he’s one of our guys down there [in the pen] ready to go. He’s one of those guys I can leave out there a little bit longer.”
Waddell threw 17 first-pitch strikes to 24 batters he faced.
Kinston stranded four runners in scoring position against Waddell, who exited the fifth with one out and a “zero” glowing on the visitors’ side of the scoreboard.
“He kept the hitters off balance,” Chrisman said. “We’re a young team playing college guys…a couple of division two guys on their team who can hit the ball a long ways, so we had to keep them off balance as much as possible.”
Reliever Carter Gipson permitted one hit and posted one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings of work.
Wayne County plated single runs in each of the first and second innings, and erupted for five runs in the fifth. Tyler Horton mashed a two-RBI double to deep left field that almost cleared the fence.
Horton emerged as one of five Jets to record one hit along with Rhett Johnson (two RBI), Gipson, Braeden Collins and Campbell Cunningham (RBI).
The Jets held a comfortable 7-0 lead through five innings and extended it to 9-1 in the sixth.
“We’ve got some guys who are not afraid [to hit], they don’t care who is out there,” Chrisman said. “They’re going to swing the bat, get out there and pitch and shove it. We’ve been doing that really well lately.”