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Junior Tyler Driggers (13) celebrates with teammate Kai Hansen after scoring Mountain Island's first run in a 10-9 extra-innings victory over Hopewell March 27. 

MT. HOLLY – Mountain Island Charter jumped from the Southern Piedmont 1A to the PAC 7 1A conference in 2018 and promptly finished one game shy of a conference championship. In their second season, the Raptors sit alone atop the league standings as the calendar turns to April.

While the Raptors lost four seniors from last year’s squad to graduation, including the team’s top pitcher in terms of innings pitched and its three leading base-stealers, a trio of juniors have stepped up to lead the way offensively.

Two of them, Mikey McRorie and Tyler Sellers, enjoyed breakout seasons as sophomores in 2018. In addition to leading the team with 39 RBIs, McRorie batted .474 with 27 hits in 57 at-bats, with 20 extra-base hits, including four home runs. Catcher Sellers ranked second on the team with 16 RBIs and posted a .377 batting average.

Tyler Driggers, the third member of Mountain Island’s junior class triumvirate, batted .404 as a sophomore. This season, Driggers leads the team with three home runs and a .423 batting average.

With Sellers, Driggers and McRorie picking up the slack at the plate, two other juniors – Scottie England and Jacob Brooks – have provided Mountain Island with speed on the bases. England leads the team with nine steals this season, and Brooks ranks second with five, and neither had been thrown out as of March 30.

Mountain Island’s junior class also leads an improved pitching staff whose earned-run average has improved from 4.52 in 2018 to 3.03 this season.

Matthew Calvello has been the staff’s ace, posting a 1.38 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. McRorie has been stellar on the mound, tossing 13.1 innings with a 2.10 ERA in five appearances.

After dropping its first two games on the road against Stuart Cramer and Lake Norman Charter in February, Mountain Island has won seven of its past eight after beating Carolina International School March 28. The Raptors are 7-3 overall, 6-1 in conference play, with its only league loss coming March 22 against Queen’s Grant, a team that Mountain Island beat 8-3 a few days earlier.

Upcoming home-and-home series against Pine Lake Prep and Langtree Charter will be vital in determining which team comes out on top in the PAC 7.

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