Deja vu! The third game of the WEst Region NCHSAA 3A baseball championship series was a lot like the first. For the East Lincoln Mustangs, that meant the end of the season. South Rowan won the first game Thursday 11-1, pounding two East Lincoln pitchers for 14 hits in a game that was called in the sixth inning on the ten-run rule (if one team gets ahead by 10 or more runs, the game is ended). Saturday night's game, also at China Grove, ended the same way and with the same score.
East Lincoln had won the second game on Friday 6-4 at Dnver. On Saturday night, South Rowan got two runs in their half of the first inning on a walk, a double and a single that scored both runners. Seth Haigler, who got the start on the mound, then got out of the inning on a fielder's choice, a strikeout and a popup. The Mustangs didn't get their first hit off Chandler Oddie until the fourth inning.
Haigler allowed just one more hit over the next two innings. Then in the fourth, the Mustangs loaded the bases on an infield single, a walk, and another single, but couldnt score a run. The home team added two more in the bottom of the fourth, then four more in the fifth. Trailing by eight runs, East Lincoln finally got one in the top of the sixth, but in their half of the inning, the Raiders scored three more to invoke the 10-run rule and advance to the state championship series next weekend against South Brunswick.
While East Lincoln lost, Cherryville won. The Ironmen claimed the NCHSAA 1A Western Region title with a 6-5 win over Union Academy. Playing at Fraley Field, Cherryville scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning and held off the visitors for a victory that puts them into a state championship series with Perquimmans next weekend.
The Cardinals cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the third, but Cherryville scored another run in the fourth to make it 3-1. In the fifth inning, the visitors took the lead 5-3 with a four-run explosion, but CHS scored three in the bottom of the sixth and held Union Academy scoreless in the top of the seventh to close out the series. Cherryville is now 21-10 on the season Cherryville won the 1A title in 2016 and this year's team is hoping to bring home another state championship trophy. To do it, they'll have to be the team that won last year's 1A championship.
The 1A championship series, like the regional championships, will be a best of three affair. It will be played at Ting Stadium in Holly Springs, NC. That's just southwest of Raleigh (between Sanford and Raleigh). The first game will be Friday night at 8 PM. The second game will be Saturday at 2 PM. The third game (if necessary) will be Saturday night at 8.