WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) -- On Thursday we checked in one more time with the UNCW & Whiteville baseball teams. They'll both be back on the field on Friday chasing championships. On Thursday we attended two different national letter of intent signings in the Wilmington area. Plus, we made a trip to the Shark Tank to check out Wilmington's summer league baseball team.
(NCHSAA media release) -- Some of the top players and teams in North Carolina high school baseball will be trying to add hardware to their trophy cases this weekend in the 96th annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association state baseball championship series.
The 2-A and 3-A series will get underway on Friday at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats, while the 1-A and 4-A classifications will get their series going on Friday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, home of the Durham Bulls. All the series are best-of-three games, and each of the teams in the finals survived best-of-three regional championship series.
In Durham, the first game on Friday will start the 1-A series with a battle between Durham's Voyager Academy (20-6) and South Stanly (27-4).
South Stanly is back in the championship series for the third time in the last four years, winning the 2009 title and losing to East Columbus in three games in last year's championship. Stephen Wallace once again leads the Rowdy Rebel Bulls of South, with eight homers, 40 RBI and a batting average of .432.
Voyager is in the finals for the first time and is coached by veteran Pete Shankle, who has also guided the Southern Durham and Northern Durham programs. The Vikings, who were 1-4 at one point early this year, are led by Chad Sykes, who is batting .450 but is also 8-1 on the mound with a 1.58 ERA.
The 4-A championship has the Mustangs of Apex Middle Creek (24-7) against Cornelius W.A. Hough (23-10), with the first game Friday at 8 p.m. Both teams are making their first trip to the baseball championship, with Hough a new school in only its second year of operation.
Jimmy Boyd is one of Middle Creek's top players, as he is battling a sizzling .450, leads the team with four homers and 30 runs batted in, and is also 7-1 on the mound with an ERA of just 1.00. Graham Edwards is 8-1 on the mound for Middle Creek with a 1.75 ERA.
Hough was 10-15 a year ago, so the Huskies have become a team competitive at the state level in a short period of time. Hough has won nine in a row since a late-season three-game losing streak and is tough in close games, winning four one-run games in the state playoffs. Brandon Gragilla is the workhorse of the pitching staff (11-1, 1.05 ERA in 80.1 innings) and Nick Bernado's .393 average leads a Hough attack that is batting .311 as a team.
The opening game at Five County on Friday will be in the 3-A series between Weddington (26-6) against the Golden Falcons of Pikeville Charles B. Aycock (21-9). Aycock at one point in the season was 10-7 overall and was the fourth seeded team from the Eastern Carolina Conference in the playoffs, but has gotten hot at the right time. The Golden Falcons are led at the plate by Adam Pate's .355 average and Collin Dubose has a pitching mark of 6-0 with an 0.69 ERA.
Weddington makes its first trip to the championship series, and the Warriors get a huge boost from Alex Bostic. Bostic is 10-0 on the mound with an 0.98 ERA but also swings a great bat, with a .404 average to go with a team-high seven home runs and 28 runs batted in.
The 2-A series will get underway at 8 p.m. on Friday with the opening game between Whiteville (24-5) and defending champion Randleman (29-4), which is actually a rematch of the 1985 championship which Whiteville won in two straight over the Tigers.
Randleman, in the championship for the third time, has limited its opponents to one or fewer runs in 18 of its 29 contests. Randleman's Cody Trogdon is batting a whopping .512 with eight homers and 32 runs batted in, leading the Tigers in all three categories.
The Tigers will be tested by the Wolfpack, which has outscored its opposition in state playoff contests by a whopping 43-5. Nathan Hood leads Whiteville at the plate with a .413 average and Justin White is 6-0 on the mound with a 1.66 earned run average.
The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are serving as host city sponsors for the games at Five County.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2012 STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES—96th ANNUAL
all series best of three games
CLASS 4-A: DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK, DURHAM
CORNELIUS W.A. HOUGH (23-10) vs. APEX MIDDLE CREEK (24-7)
Game 1: Friday, June 1 at 8 p.m.; Game 2: Saturday, June 2 at 2 pm; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 2 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 1-A)
CLASS 3-A: FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON
PIKEVILLE CHARLES B. AYCOCK (21-9) vs. WEDDINGTON (26-6)
Game 1: Friday, June 1, 5 pm.; Game 2: Saturday, June 2, 11 am; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 2 at 5 pm
CLASS 2-A: FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON
RANDLEMAN (29-4) vs. WHITEVILLE (24-5)
Game 1: Friday, June 1, 8 pm; Game 2: Saturday, June 2, 2 pm; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 2, 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 3-A)
CLASS 1-A: DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK, DURHAM
DURHAM VOYAGER ACADEMY (20-6) vs. SOUTH STANLY (27-4)
Game 1: Friday, June 1 at 5 pm.; Game 2: Saturday, June 2 at 11 am; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 2 at 5 pm
WILMINGTON,NC (Sharks media release) -- May 31, 2012 – Fayetteville pitching held the Sharks scoreless through the first seven innings of play, but in what would end as Wilmington’s final turn at bat the hosts exploded for six runs to earn a 6-3 victory, their second straight win over the SwampDogs.
The first three innings were scoreless for both teams, as Fayetteville was unable to capitalize on two of the Sharks’ four innings of the game in that time. The visitors had three runners reach base in the second inning and two more in the third, but none of those five would advance past first base.
John Howell got things started for Fayetteville in the fourth, taking a walk then stealing second base. Before a pitch was even thrown after the steal, Howell caught Wilmington starter Nick Price off guard and walked over to third. He later scored on a Tyler Ding single.
The SwampDogs continued their scoring in the fifth, with each of their first two batters coming around to score after opening the inning with back-to-back singles.
Price was lifted after the fifth inning in favor of Wes Hatley, who lasted one inning before making way for winning pitcher Aaron Hoover and closer Nick Bruns. The bullpen kept Fayetteville mostly quiet, facing just 13 batters in the final four frames.
Wilmington’s offense took over in the eighth, when the home team sent 11 batters to the dish. Cody Strang, making his Sharks debut after arriving from Minnesota just in time to take the bus to Fayetteville yesterday, ended up the hero with a single that drove in Lloyd Enzor for what would be the game-winning run.
Fayetteville committed just two of the game’s six errors, but both proved costly as one loaded the bases to keep the inning alive with two outs, and the next allowed Brad Shaban to reach third base on a single to left field. He later scored the final run of the night.
It was the first save opportunity of the season for closer Nick Bruns, and he faced just three batters in the conversion.
Each of the Dogs’ six hits came from different batters, while Enzor and Shaban both turned in multi-hit nights for the Sharks. Enzor is now 5-for-8 in two games at Buck Hardee Field this season.
Wilmington takes to the road for contests at Morehead City and Edenton on Thursday and Friday, respectively, before an off day Sunday. Fayetteville returns to the Port City on Monday evening. For more on the Sharks, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/sharky.sharks or on Twitter at twitter.com/ILMSharks.
RALEIGH REGIONAL (all times Eastern)
Friday, June 1
Game 1: #2 Vanderbilt vs. #3 UNC Wilmington, 2 p.m.
Game 2: #1 NC State vs. #4 Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 2
Game 3: Losers from Games 1 and 2, 2 p.m.
Game 4: Winners from Games 1 and 2, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 3
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 4 (if necessary)
Game 7: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, 1 p.m.