Title slips away
WILSON – It barely slipped away.
Lawrence Academy, the best baseball team in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association for the entire season, came up just short of the 1-A championship here this weekend.
The Warriors, who made the championship series with a convincing 11-1 win over Shannon Forest in the semifinal round, split the first two games of the championship series before falling to three-time defending state baseball champion Waccamaw Academy in the final game of the series.
&uot;This was a tough game,&uot; second-year coach Robert Kravitz said after the final contest. &uot;I thought the momentum from our earlier win would set the tone for the game.
&uot;They scored six runs in the first inning and we were down,&uot; he said.
The Warriors met Waccamaw in the finals and saw the defending state champions pound out 20 hits as Lawrence suffered a 17-7 setback.
Waccamaw opened the scoring with six runs in the first frame. Lawrence battled back with two in the home half of the same inning.
Holden McClenney walked and scored on a Dusty Todd RBI-double to left-centerfield. Todd then came around to score on a Jobie Thomas RBI-double to get the Warriors within 6-2.
The onslaught kept coming in the second, however, as Waccamaw plated three runs. They added a mark in the top of the third to take a commanding 10-2 lead after three innings.
The Warriors were far from done, however, as they scored four in the bottom of the fourth to get back into the contest.
Thomas and Judd Whitehead reached base on errors before senior Jacob Harrell singled to left to load the bases.
Thomas scored on a J.T. Lilley bases-loaded walk before Whitehead and Harrell came home on Daniel Oliver’s two-run double. Gray Harrell walked to reload the bases before Lilley scored on a McClenney bases-load walk.
Two strikeouts ended the inning, but Lawrence was within 10-6.
Waccamaw, however, responded with two runs in the top of the fifth frame and Lawrence countered with one in the home half of the same inning.
In that frame, Whitehead doubled to right, stole third and scored on a Lilley RBI-single to trim the deficit to 12-7.
Waccamaw scored two in the sixth and their final three in the seventh to establish the final.
Lawrence finished the season 24-6 and as state runners up. After the contest, Jacob Harrell, Dusty Todd, Jobie Thomas and Judd Whitehead of Lawrence were named All-State. Ridgecroft’s Gavin Mizelle also received the honor.
&uot;We lose five seniors and they were the key to where we got this year,&uot; Kravitz said. &uot;We had a great year and we’re looking forward to next season.&uot;