DENVER – The Southern Piedmont 1A conference tournament championship games pitted Lincoln Charter against Cherryville in baseball and softball May 2.
The Lady Eagles proved to be the class of the conference en route to a 14-0 regular season record in league play, a mark that included three victories over second-place Cherryville. The fourth meeting between the conference rivals remained true to form, as Lincoln Charter broke open a tight game in the late innings to run away with a 10-3 victory.
In a game that featured very little offense in the early going, it was senior pitcher Kelsey Peede who set the tone for the Lady Eagles. While Peede wasn’t quite dominant, allowing a pair of earned runs on seven hits and three walks in seven innings of work, she was able execute under pressure, stranding seven baserunners in the middle innings of a close game, including leaving the bases loaded in the fourth inning.
Peede’s pitching bought just enough time for the Lincoln Charter bats to get going. The charge offensively was led by sophomore Anna Grace Terrell, who ripped a bases-clearing triple down the right field line late in the contest to put the game out of reach. Terrell recorded two hits, scored two runs and drove in four more to help lead the Lady Eagles to the conference tournament championship.
In the Southern Piedmont 1A baseball championship game, Cherryville entered as the undefeated favorite that had already beaten Lincoln Charter three times in the regular season. This time, Lincoln Charter prevailed 7-3 in extra innings.
Cherryville jumped on top early, scoring two runs off Eagles starting pitcher Hunter Harritan in the bottom of the first inning on back-to-back RBI hits from Elliott Greene and Dillon Robinson.
Harritan rebounded, tossing three scoreless innings after escaping the first with just a two-run deficit, as Lincoln Charter added a run in the third inning to trim Cherryville’s lead to 2-1 before taking its first lead of the game with two more runs in the fifth.
Lincoln Charter’s 3-2 lead was short-lived, however, as Cherryville senior slugger Jared Emory belted a game-tying home run in the bottom of the sixth that ultimately sent the game to extra innings.
Senior pitcher Zack Horton, who came on in relief for Lincoln Charter in the bottom of the seventh, pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while striking out two.
Harritan, who started the game on the mound for the Eagles, powered the Lincoln Charter offense, driving in three runs on three hits, including a go-ahead triple in the ninth inning.
It was North Lincoln against Bandys in Hickory for the South Fork 2A conference tournament championship, with the Knights fending off a late Bandys rally to capture a 5-3 victory.
North Lincoln jumped on top early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first on just one hit. Senior right fielder Jake Quilla worked a bases-loaded walk to put the Knights on the board before an RBI fielder’s choice and a wild pitch scored two more runs to give North Lincoln a 3-0 advantage.
After setting the table in the first inning, the top of the Knights’ lineup delivered once more in the second when leadoff man Landon Reeves ripped a two-out single and Matt Heavner crushed a two-run home run to extend the lead to 5-0.
Despite the early success, North Lincoln’s bats went silent for the final five innings, leaving it up to starting pitcher Seth Whitley to preserve the 5-0 lead.
Whitley was dominant at times in the early going, but Bandys finally got to him for three runs in the fifth inning when a Elec Yount triple plated two runners and a sacrifice fly scored the third. The Trojans threatened again in the sixth, with the tying runs in scoring position with one out, but Whitley fanned the final two batters of the inning to keep the lead in-tact before tossing a scoreless seventh to secure the victory.