Spring 2017

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8 — Goldsboro News-Argus Friday, March 10, 2017 Eastern Wayne • WARRIORS HEAD COACH: WALKER GOURLEY • EASTERN CAROLINA 3-A/4-A • 2016 RECORD: 13-10 News-Argus/SETH COMBS The 2017 Eastern Wayne High School varsity baseball team PLAYER POS. YR. 1 Josh Gross IF/OF So. 2 Colby Miller IF So. 3 Andrew Fricks IF/P Fr. 4 Keyon Gaines IF/P Sr. 5 Nathan Bell OF/P Jr. 6 Zack Christensen U Fr. 7 Tristin Collins IF/P Fr. 9 Ricky Davis OF Fr. 10 Drew Barnes U So. 11 Ryan Sullivan OF/P So. 15 Landon Ginn IF/OF/P Fr. 16 Will Uzzell IF Fr. 17 Tanner Wells IF/OF Sr. 18 Hill Vickory OF Fr. 19 Jacob Ginn OF Sr. 20 Jason Mitchell IF Jr. 21 Jay Wiseman IF Jr. 22 Blake Long OF Fr. 23 Jordan Taylor IF Sr. 2017 ROSTER RESULTS OPPONENT SCORE at Corinth-Holders L, 0-9 at North Lenoir L, 4-9 at Hunt L, 4-5 (10) REMAINING SCHEDULE DATE OPPONENT March 9 at Greene Central March 14 at South Central March 17 New Bern* March 21 North Lenoir March 22 Greene Central March 24 at J.H. Rose* March 28 D.H. Conley* March 31 at Southern Wayne* April 4 C.B. Aycock* April 7 South Central* April 11 at New Bern* April 13 Spring Creek April 15 Rocky Mount# April 17 Nash Central# April 18 Northern Nash* April 25 J.H. Rose* April 28 at D.H. Conley* May 2 Southern Wayne* May 4 at C.B. Aycock END OF REGULAR SEASON * — ECC 3-A/4-A games # — Golden Leaf Invitational 2017 SCHEDULE By RUDY COGGINS Walker Gourley played in the Eastern Wayne system. He spent two years as assistant coach. Now he's the lead War- rior. And the former minor leaguer insists there are no changes in store for the varsity baseball pro- gram — a perennial con- ference-title and state- playoff contender nestled in the small community of New Hope. "The main thing I'm trying to do is to contin- ue the things about East- ern Wayne baseball that have been in place many years before," said Gour- ley, who was drafted in the 13th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. "That's for us to be known as a team that plays the game the right way, plays the game hard and (is) also a team that whenever somebody sees that they are playing Eastern Wayne next on their schedule, they know they're going to have to play a good game to beat us." The transition has been easy. The same principles remain in place set by former head coach Jabo Fulhgum, who retired less than a year ago. Do the simple things. Limit mistakes. Have good plate approaches. Play hard for seven innings. Have fun. All are secrets to posi- tive success in a game that constantly sets a player up for failure. Gourley learned that during his five-year tenure in the minors with advanced and short- season teams in four dif- ferent leagues. "(The minors) are basi- cally a parallel to how your life is," Gourley said. "You have to show up every single day ready to execute the task, commit to the process of becoming bet- ter both individually and as a team. You've got to bring the attitude, the concentration, the high level of effort on a day- to-day basis to be suc- cessful. "There are no days off." Don't expect Gourley to take a break. The Warriors won't field a JV team this spring. That gives Gour- ley a 20-player roster — which includes eight freshmen — to develop during a challenging schedule that includes a highly-competitive 12- game slate againts East- ern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference opposition. And like Fulghum, he wants to see EW take advantage of opportuni- ties presented to it — in practice and in games. Finding the right cohe- siveness in a lineup and putting the team in posi- tion to win on a daily basis is paramount. "The best team may not always win, but the team that plays the best will always win," Gourley said. "That's baseball." The younger players appear ahead of the learning curve and seem to have bought into the program's philosophy. The guidance will come from four seniors — Keyon Gaines, Jacob Ginn, Jordan Taylor and High Point U commit Tanner Wells. Wells — the Warriors' lone returning pitcher — posted a 5-2 worksheet with one save and 2.92 earned run average (ERA) in 52 2 ⁄3 innings on the mound last spring. Gaines, Ginn and Tay- lor combined to play in total of 16 games. "Tanner, Jordan, Keyon and Jacob have done a really good job of holding those younger guys accountable and being the constant example of everything that we're trying to do," Gourley said. "I can't speak enough of those guys so far in practice. I've got all the confidence in the world that's going to carry over into the games. That's something that's going to translate to things that stick with those young guys as they move through their years." Eastern Wayne opens its ECC schedule March 14 at South Central — the final contest in a sea- son-opening, five-game road swing. The Warriors finished 6-6 in conference play a year ago. Gourley's message? Control what can be controlled. Don't be too concerned about the opponent. Buy into the team con- cept. "We need to keep in mind that we control the work that we put in on a daily basis," Gourley said. "We have to commit to knowing that there's a systematic cohesive way to how we're going to put more runs on the board than the other team. "I think we've begun to understand that identity and embrace it, and real- ly commit. Throw the ball across the plate at a high level. Take advan- tage of any mistakes. Be aggressive. Scratch and claw for some wins." Indeed. That's good 'ole EW baseball right there. 778-2765 Mon.-Fri. 9:30am-6:00pm • Sat. 9:30-5:00pm 502-B Eastgate Drive • Beside Berkeley Mall Barnes Charge 14DSL0316J© While they are creating Unf orgettable Moments, you want to remember them. Gourley: Team goals never change at Eastern Wayne ■ New coach ready to guide young squad on diamond this spring. Continued from 4 Junior Alex Watson batted .412 in eight games last season, and will also serve as a vital bat. Smith said he expects his pitching to be a large part of the team's identity. He thinks the Conquerors will thrive under the new pitch-count rules because of the depth in the bullpen. "They're probably going to see a lot of moving guys around on the mound instead of relying on one guy to go out there and do the job," said Smith, whose team competes in the N.C. Christian Schools Association Class 2- A District 4 ranks. "I'm counting on about eight or nine guys who have worked on the mound before." The veteran coach said the begin- ning of this season feels much different than last year. He has more leaders and experience, but there's also a new level of emotion. Smith and his players can both sense the level of expectancy entering the 2017 season. "They know what they are capable of doing," Smith said. "A lot of them played summer ball, and some of them worked on the mound a lot. So you see they're excitement to get out there and see how all this work that they've had is going to pay off." Now is the time to conquer. Growth

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