PUMPKIN CENTER – With a pair of shutout victories over Wilkes Central and West Stokes, the North Lincoln Knights are one win away from back to back appearances in the West Regional Final of the 2A state baseball playoffs.
After narrowly avoiding a monumental upset against Central Academy in the first round, the Knights returned to the field with a laser focus for their round-two matchup against Wilkes Central May 10.
North Lincoln scored early and often en route to a 10-0, five-inning victory over the Eagles, starting with a solo home run off the bat of Jake Quilla to lead off the bottom of the second inning.
When it looked like the Knights might strand Sam Brady at third base following a leadoff triple in the third, starting pitcher Seth Whitley lined a two-out double into the gap to extend North Lincoln’s lead to 2-0. Whitley would later come around to score on a wild pitch, and Quilla delivered his second RBI of the night to put the Knights on top 4-0 through three innings.
North Lincoln would benefit from some more two-out magic in the fourth inning, albeit with some help from the Wilkes Central pitcher, who drilled Whitley with a pitch with the bases loaded to plate another run before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed another North Lincoln baserunner to cross home plate. Jake Soorus capped the inning with an RBI single that pushed North Lincoln’s lead to 7-0 midway through the game.
The fifth inning was much of the same for the Knights, with Landon Reeves tacking on an RBI single and a pair of walks with the bases loaded pushing across two more runs to give North Lincoln the 10-0 mercy rule victory.
Whitley was dominant on the mound for the Knights, tossing five shutout innings while allowing just four hits with four strikeouts.
After Whitley’s dominant performance against Wilkes Central in the second round, pitching carried the Knights once again in a 4-0 victory over West Stokes in the third round May 14.
Senior southpaw Joey Cobb got the start on the mound for North Lincoln against the Wildcats and was nearly untouchable. Cobb delivered a complete-game, two-hit shutout to lead the Knights to victory, striking out nine West Stokes batters while walking just one.
With Cobb controlling the game from the rubber, North Lincoln didn’t need much production from its offense.
The Knights pushed two runs across in the bottom of the second inning on a pair of RBI singles from Whitley and catcher Tanner Brumfield. Brumfield struck again in the third inning, launching a solo home run to extend North Lincoln’s lead to 3-0 before Heavner delivered an RBI single in the fourth to close the scoring at 4-0.
North Lincoln, the second seed in the west region of the 2A state playoffs bracket, will now host North Davidson Friday, May 17, with a berth in the West Regional Final on the line.