The Pinecrest baseball team claimed the Sandhills Athletic Conference title at home Thursday night against the Lee County Yellow Jackets. The Patriots struck fast, and early and even with the Yellow Jackets cutting the lead in half midway through the contest, they found a way to hold on for the 8-3 win.
“I love where we are right now. They’re competing and playing hard. This is what we set out to do when we started in September to be right here,” Pinecrest coach Jeff Hewitt said. “To dogpile on our own field that means we’re playing well and that’s just tradition of Pinecrest baseball is where we want to be in this game.”
The Patriots (19-5) struck first in the bottom of the first by scoring two runs, and then went on a scoring clinic in the second inning, starting with an RBI single to left by Cam Bunker. J.D. Scarborough followed with an RBI single to center and Colby Wallace finished it with an RBI single to left for the Patriots to go up 5-0. In the bottom of the third with the base’s loaded Nick DiCarlo was hit by a pitch to bring home another run, putting Pinecrest up 6-0. The Yellow Jackets (18-8) got their first run of the game in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly. In the top of the fifth, the Yellow Jackets cut the Patriots’ lead in half with a two-run homer to center from B.J. Brown.
”One of the things we want to try to do is win the fifth, I think the game changes in the fifth and that proved right again tonight,” Hewitt said. “You’ve got to work hard and the fight in this team we knew especially up 6-3 and won in fourth with help of the bullpen and the top and bottom lineup guys.”
J.C. Woolard and Jackson Kuhn added two more runs for the Patriots in the bottom of the sixth and Skyler Mathis closed out the Jackets with his pitching in the seventh for the win.
Mathis came in late for the Patriots striking out batter after batter.
“Well going into this outing, I haven’t had the best outing and I was going up there with the mentality that I’m going to pitch my heart out so with every pitch I was focusing at one pitch at a time and that’s what kept me going,” Mathis said. “I think it’s a mental side to keep battling don’t let their top get to us. We stayed really clean from inning one to inning seven and we stayed in the game mentally.”
Pinecrest finishes the regular season 19-5 and is the regular season and conference champions heading into the state playoffs. The Patriots will host the game at home Tuesday, with the opponent to be decided on Monday.
“I think we’re peaking right now as a team and we're coming together so I think just not beating ourselves and playing together,” Mathis said.
Mustangs Hold Off Bears
The North Moore baseball team claimed the Mid-Carolina Conference tournament title to double down on their league title from the regular season with a 4-2 win over Chatham Central Thursday.
The Mustangs (16-1) posted two runs apiece in the bottom of the second and the bottom of the third inning.
Driving in runs for the offense were Justis Dorsett, Logan Ritter and Ethan Dunlap.
With the early run support, senior Robert Garner struck out five batters and allowed six hits. He was relieved by Gabriel Swarms with the bases loaded with no outs, and the senior was able to get out of the jam unscathed.
North Moore will host a first-round playoff game Tuesday after the field is completed on Monday.