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Lawrence wins TIC

ELIZABETH CITY – The Tarheel Independent Conference tournament championship trophy will spend the next 365 days in familiar territory.

Lawrence Academy won the TIC tournament for the third consecutive year Wednesday afternoon, defeating Hobgood Academy 5-1.

While the Warriors scored 10 runs combined in the semifinals and finals, it was pitching that propelled them to the championship.

In the finals Tuesday, the Warriors fell behind 1-0, but rallied past the Raiders thanks in large part to the strong pitching of right-hander Daniel Oliver.

Oliver pitched seven innings, scattering seven hits while giving up just one run. He struck out seven and walked just one.

“We started late as far as scoring runs,” said Lawrence baseball boss Robert Kravitz. “Daniel pitched really well and we played excellent defense behind him.”

Offensively, the Warriors were led by senior Joe Harrell, who was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate. Oliver was 1-for-3 with a homerun. Chad Whitehead was 1-for-2 for the afternoon while both Evan Holton and J.T. Lilley checked in at 1-for-3.

The win came one day after the Warriors defeated Ridgecroft School in the semifinals thanks to a three-hit performance from Jonathan Brantley. Over seven innings, Brantley allowed just those three hits, struck out 14 and walked just one.

“Jonathan’s 14 strikeouts were great,” Kravitz said. “He had total command of the game. He did an excellent job of keeping them off balance.”

Oliver, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, was 2-for-3 with a homerun to lead the Warriors’ offensive efforts. Lilley was 1-for-3 with a homerun and Holton was 1-for-3.

After the event, Oliver was named TIC Player of the Year while Holton, Whitehead and Blake Hill were named All-Tarheel Independent Conference.

While he was glad to win the TIC tournament, Kravitz said his team was still focused.

“It’s a good feeling to win the conference tournament, but it’s a better feeling knowing the guys want more than that,” he said. “They want the big trophy.”

The Warriors (19-2) head into the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association state 1-A baseball tournament as the top seed. They will host the winner of the Ridgecroft-Northeast game Tuesday at 5 p.m.