The Pinecrest Patriots won game one of the 4A East regional final series Tuesday night. The score was 6-0.
John W. Williams field had a packed house for the state playoffs. The weather was cool and breezy, and it felt more like opening day than a late May playoff baseball game. A lunchtime decision to proceed with the game and risk the weather made the night even more special.
The Patriots would take on tough defending state champions Fuquay-Varina.
The Patriots have not made it this far since 1985 when they made it to the East regional championship.
Coach Hewitt told his players before the game, “We all fell in love with this game playing Little League. Tonight, let’s go out and play like it’s Little League and have fun.”
The first three innings were all defensive for both teams. With good pitching and fielding, neither team couldn’t really get the bats going.
Bottom of the third, the Patriots tried to get something big going but were still able to retire the inning with a run.
Ethan Masson hit a single to center to get things started. Nick DiCarlo laid the perfect bunt to move the runner and made it to first. Cam Bunker hit flew out at right, but it was deep enough to move Masson to third. DiCarlo stole second to put both runners into scoring position.
JD Scarborough grounded to second and was safe on an ERA. Masson was able to score giving the Patriots their first run of the game. DiCarlo tried to squeeze in but was thrown out at the plate.
After some outfield work to DiCarlo and Scarborough and another strike-out by Colby Wallace, the Bengals couldn’t get anything going.
The Patriots got the bats going right away in the fourth. Wallace got things started with a grounder to left-center for a single. JC Woolard also got a single with a grounder to LC. Jackson Kuhn grounded to left for a single bringing in Woolard for the second run of the game.
After a fly-out by Grayson Hudgins, the Bengals decided it was time for a new arm. Nick DiCarlo connected off the new pitcher with a grounder to the left-center wall getting him a three RBI double.
Bunker kept the bats going with an RBI single. Scarborough hit a chopper to second and reached first on an ERA. Bunker tried to steal third on a wild pitch but was thrown out to end the inning.
Like the first three innings, the last three innings were all defensive on the mound and on the field. In the top of the seven, Patriots brought in a fresh arm.
Cove Mashburn came in to finish the game. Bunker threw the final out to first. The James W. Williams’ field erupted with cheers as the young man celebrated their victory on the mound.
Game two of the best of three series will be away at Fuquay-Varina Thursday night at 7 p.m. If game three is needed, the Patriots will be at home on Saturday at 2 p.m.
~Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Curtis Self.