When you're headed for the playoffs, it's nice to finish with a win; and North Lincoln beat Bandys in their final regular season game Thursday 8-2. Having claimed second place in the South Fork Conference, the Knights will join East Lincoln in representing the league in the NCHSAA playoffs starting next week. Rain in some locations caused games to be postponed until Saturday, so the brackets won't be announced now until late Sunday afternoon.
North managed only five hits, one of them a double by Brett Bassani, but took advantage of four errors by the Trojans, eight walks, and five stolen bases.
Seth Whitley, Matt Heavner, and Jack Waggoner held Bandys to four hits. Despite some control problems (he walked five batters and had two wild pitches) Whitley struck out four and held the Trojans to a single hit over three innings; Heavner gave up the other three hits, but no runs; and Waggoner walked one batter but struck out another and gave up no hits in securing the victory.
North trailed 2-0 after those two runs, only one of them earned, off Whitley; but the Knights scored seven runs in the top of the fifth and another in the sixth.
While East and North played Thursday, Lincolnton and West Lincoln didn't finish their season until Friday, both with losses. West fell to Lake Norman Charter 9-8; Lincolnton lost to Maiden when the Blue Devils scored a run in the top of the seventh for a 6-5 win. Jacob Cauble had a homer for Maiden and batted in four of their runs. On the mound, Cauble struck out six and gave up four hits over four-and-a-third innings; but the win goes to Dalton James, who struck out six of the eleven batters he faced.
Having already claimed a share of the Southern Piedmont 1A Conference title, playoff-bound Lincoln Charter finished the regular season with an 11-4 win at South Caldwell on Friday. The Smiths, Mason & Jacob, both went 2 for 3 at the plate and Mason had a home run. Max McCreary had only one hit in his three at-bats, but it was a triple and drove in three runs. Five Eagles pitchers took a turn on the mound, allowing just three hits while striking out 10 batters.
Cherryville claimed a share of the Southern Piedmont championship with an 8-2 win over Bessemer City. Chase Miller went 2 for 2 including a home run. Christian Hahn was 2 for 4; his hits were a double and a triple. On the mound, Kanon Willis gave up just three hits and two runs over five innings. Collin Robinson struck out five of the six batters he faced.
Lincoln Charter beat Cherryville on Tuesday 5-1; the Ironmen beat the Eagles 4-3 on May 14th. Those were the only losses by either team. Both will now be in the NCHSAA 1A playoffs. The brackets will be announced Sunday.