Providence needed extra innings, but the Panthers got the job done, sweeping Pinecrest in the 4A Baseball State Championship Series with a 3-1, 10-inning victory. The win gave the Panthers the program’s third State Championship and completed an undefeated season with a record of 34-0.
The Panthers delivered the decisive blow in the top of the 10th inning plating a pair of runs to grab a 3-1 lead. David Garfinkle led off the inning with a walk and Luke Wolff slapped a one-out single to right to put runners on the corners before Wolff stole second base. Tommy Walker pushed a single to right that brought Garfinkle home to give Providence their first lead of the day.
With runners on the corners and one out, with one run already in, Collin McDougall legged out a fielder’s choice to avoid an inning-ending double play and allow Walker to score an insurance run to give Providence a 3-1 cushion.
Game one starting pitcher Eli Jerzembeck came in for the bottom of the tenth, slamming the door shut on the Patriots with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to end a bases-loaded threat and pick up the save. Jerzembeck finished the series with 12 strikeouts total in eight innings of work, allowing just three hits and no runs while picking up a win and a save on his way to being named the 4A Series Most Valuable Player.
Pinecrest got the lead in the fourth when Grayson Hudgins singled to right field to plate Colby Wallace who had reached on a leadoff walk. However, other than a handful of hits, the Patriot bats could not solve Providence starter Michael Forret who struck out 12 in his 7.2 innings of work. His counterpart, Patriots’ starter, Colby Wallace, was equally dazzling, giving up a single unearned run on six hits across eight innings with seven strikeouts.
Pinecrest wrapped up their season with a 25-8 record. The Patriots won the Sandhills 3A/4A with a record of 10-2. The Patriots won the program’s first Regional Championship since 1979, and only their second all-time.
Providence finished the year a perfect 34-0. The Panthers won the Southwestern 4A with a record of 12-0. They claimed their fourth Regional Championship and third State Championship all-time. It was their first State Championship since they won the 2015 4A Championship.