East Columbus loses first game of series

ZEBULON,NC (WWAY) — South Stanly turned a suicide squeeze play into a dramatic game-ending double play as the Rowdy Rebel Bulls nipped East Columbus 3-2 in the first game of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 1-A baseball championship series at Five County Stadium on Friday. Click play video to see our highlights from game one.

East Columbus outhit South Stanly 11-2, but the Gators had a couple of costly errors and also walked seven.

East had plated a run to pull within 3-2 and runners at second and third with one out. But Ben Jenkins popped the suicide bunt attempt up and base runner Ben Connor was doubled off third to end the game.

South Stanly scored a pair of unearned runs in the third, and East got one back in its half. Then Landon Fraley’s run-scoring single in the seventh put the Rowdy Rebel Bulls ahead 3-1.

Hunter Smith, David Bridgers and Derrick Bracey each had two hits for East Columbus. Fraley and Grayson Short were the only South players to hit safely.

Russ Weiker was the winning pitcher to run his record to 14-0 and Heath Blackmon got the save. Skylar Bowen (8-2) had a no-hitter through five innings but was charged with the loss.

Game two in the best-of-three 1-A series, part of the 95th annual NCHSAA baseball championships, is set for Saturday morning at eleven o’clock.

The win pushed South Stanly’s record to 25-9, and the Rowdy Rebel Bulls are in the state finals for the second time in the last three years. East Columbus is now 22-6 and had a 15-game winning streak snapped.

The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are serving as host city sponsors for this championship series. Wendy’s is the presenting sponsor of the NCHSAA sports program.

NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

STATE 1-A BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES—GAME ONE

Five County Stadium, Zebulon

South Stanly 0 0 2 0 0 0 1– 3 2 2

East Columbus 0 0 1 0 0 0 1– 2 11 3

WP–Russ Weiker (14-0). Save–Heath Blackmon. LP–Skylar Bowen (8-2).

article and box score provided by NCHSAA