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Topsail baseball team can't wait for 3-A state championship series; Sharks win 3rd in a row

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HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) -- Granville Gehris is the Topsail head baseball coach. His Pirates are heading to Zebulon to play in the 3-A state championship series this weekend against Piedmont High School. "This has been what we've been working towards all year. It's what we've been focusing on. To be at this point, to be in this position to be one of eight baseball team left to compete for a state title, we're excited to be there." Gehris led the Pirates to the 4th round of the state playoffs his first season(2013). The final script for this season hasn't been written yet. That won't be determined until this weekend. Coincidentally, Piedmont and Topsail were both 2-A schools last year. In fact Piedmont won the 2-A state championship last season.

Click the play video icon to see our feature on the Topsail baseball team.

CLASS 3-A CHAMPIONSHIP: TOPSAIL (19-8) vs. MONROE PIEDMONT (21-8)
Game 1: Friday, June 6, 8pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 7, 2pm
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 7 at 8pm (5 pm if no third game in 1-A)
All games will be played at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, just east of Raleigh

NCHSAA Fast Facts:

Event: 98th annual NCHSAA Baseball Championships

Date: June 6-7, 2014

Site: University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2-A, 4-A); Five County Stadium, Zebulon (1A, 3-A)

First Held: 1914

Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state title in best two-of-three series; 64 schools initially qualified for playoffs in each classification

Last year's champions: 1-A: South Stanly; 2-A: Piedmont; 3-A: Weddington; 4-A: South Mecklenburg

Tickets: eight dollars per game

Of Interest: Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants was the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 NCHSAA state 4-A championship series as he led South Caldwell to the title.

Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau for games in Zebulon; Greensboro Sports Commission for games in Greensboro

Click the play video icon to see our feature on the Topsail baseball team.

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WILMINGTON, NC (SHARKS RELEASE) -- After six complete innings, Fayetteville's Rayne Raven was walking off Buck Hardee Field into the first base dugout after striking out his 9th batter of the night. The score at the time was 4-0 in favor of his SwampDogs, and Wilmington looked dead in the water. The Sharks were still hitless in the ballgame, and had only put three runners on base.

Raven struck out Nathan Becker to start the 7th, bringing up Sam Foy to the plate. Foy was able to bust open Raven's no-hitter with a hit up the middle - this was Raven's second potential no-hitter of the season. Foy was driven home for their first run by Justin Bellinger, a ball that was six inches away from a homerun to left field. Rayne Raven's evening was over after the 7th, for a final line of ten strikeouts, giving up two hits, walking two, and surrendering just one run.

The Sharks weren't satisfied with just one run, however. In the bottom of the 8th, Ben Dartnell plucked Steven Linkous, putting him aboard with just 1 out. Linkous advanced to third on a Joe DeVito double. Nate Moorhouse approached the plate in a 4-1 ballgame, and was able to rip the second pitch he saw into right field for a double, clearing the bases and shortening the defecit to just one run.

The next batter, Nathan Becker, knocked the ball into left field, scoring Moorhouse from second, advancing to second on the throw home, bringing up Sam Foy. Foy's second hit of the ballgame was up the middle, moving Becker to third, awaiting Justin Bellinger.

Bellinger was facing a 0-1 count from the right-handed Deshorn Lake, and swung at a high fastball. The swing of his bat distorted the catcher's eyesight just enough causing the ball to pass to the backstop, allowing Becker to score from third base for the go-ahead run.

An amazing finish to a ballgame that looked to be a certain loss for the home team Sharks. The SwampDogs will be back for a rematch at The Shark Tank on Thursday evening.

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NBA FINALS (all games will be shown on WWAY)

(Best-of-7; x-if necessary)
Thursday, June 5: Miami at San Antonio, 9 p.m.

Sunday, June 8: Miami at San Antonio, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, June 10: San Antonio at Miami, 9 p.m.

Thursday, June 12: San Antonio at Miami, 9 p.m.

x-Sunday, June 15: Miami at San Antonio, 8 p.m.

x-Tuesday, June 17: San Antonio at Miami, 9 p.m.

x-Friday, June 20: Miami at San Antonio, 9 p.m.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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