The Pinecrest baseball team was defeated by the Providence Panthers in Game 1 of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state championship final. A chess match to start, as both sides went inning for inning with neither side getting a score until the late innings that helped propel the Panthers to a shutout 3-0 win.
The win gives Providence (33-0) a 1-0 series lead.
Scoreless after two complete innings, the top of the third was where the top-seeded Panthers struck first on a groundout to first by Sam Dansky to bring in a runner from third and make it 1-0. Both sides' defense would show their strength posting zeros until the sixth.
In the top of the sixth inning, Collin McDougall added another run on a RBI single to right and the Panthers sealed the win with a RBI triple from Tyler Khanolker to score a runner from third. Providence would then get three quick outs in the seventh for the win.
“I thought we did a great job, we stuck to our plan at the plate and were seeing one of the best pitchers in the state of North Carolina. We did our best to get his pitch count up. I think he had 90 pitches and we got some really young guys in the dugout that had an opportunity to see that type of athlete,” Pinecrest coach Jeff Hewitt said of Providence starter Eli Jerzembeck. “I think we have a ton of confidence going into Game 2 tomorrow at 11 o’clock.”
Cove Mashburn got the start for the Patriots (25-7), striking out three batters, giving up one hit and walking three batters in 6 1/3 innings pitched.
Colby Wallace had two hits and two stolen bases.
“Mashburn pitched his butt off tonight and he did exactly what we wanted him to do and gave us opportunity. We've got a lot of guys to throw tomorrow, and our thing is let’s get in Game 3 and see what happens,” Hewitt said. “Our plan was to have our best on Game 2, whether we won this game or not and got our best tomorrow. With that being said, our guys will be ready to play and they won’t back down. I think they know that they can play with this team and hats off to Providence, they took what we gave them.”
The second-seeded Patriots look to bounce back in Game 2 of the series tomorrow at 11 a.m. and force a potential Game 3 at 5 p.m. later that afternoon.