Thursday night was about as good as it gets for East Lincoln. The Mustangs scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning, added another in the second, four more in the third, and then capped the night with a game-ending two-run homer by Gavin Houser, beating Thomasville Ledford 11-1 in the shortened five-inning game. Good as that was--it gets better: Forbush High School from East Bend beat West Wilkes 7-4, and since the Falcons were a 13-seed and the Mustangs were seeded ninth in the west region, the Saturday round three NCHSAA 2A playoff game will be at East Lincoln!
Ledford pitchers just couldn't get the job done. The leadoff batter for East drew a walk in each of the first three innings and later scored. The Panthers used three different pitchers over those frames.
Meanwhile East senior Ben Kleckner limited the opponents to a single hit. Their only run came in the top of the second when they put runners on first and third with nobody out on a walk and a single. After Kleckner got one out, a sacrifice fly cut the lead to 4-1. Catcher Graham Smiley then threw out the runner trying to steal third to end the inning.
In the third inning, East got the bases loaded on three walks. With two outs and two strikes on the batter, it looked like the inning was about over; but what should have been an easy out turned into a three-run error.
Lincoln Charter will have to play a road game in the third round of the 1A playoffs on Saturday--but they won't have far to travel. The Eagles beat North Moore 12-7 Thursday evening. Mason Smith went 3 for 5 including a double, stole two bases, knocked in three runs and scored two for the Eagles. On Saturday, they'll play at Mountain Island Charter. The Raptors downed the #1 seed in the west region, Hayesville, 12-9 Thursday afternoon.
Cherryville wasn't as fortunate. No heroic come-from-behind like Tuesday; they fell behind East Surry early and couldn't catch up, ending their season with a 9-2 loss.
Times for Saturday's games had not yet been announced Thursday evening.