Warriors continue roll

Published 9:12 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

MERRY HILL – Load up the bus.

Not for a defeated opponent, but for Lawrence Academy’s baseball team and their fans who are headed back to Wilson’s historic Fleming Stadium with one mission: win a third-straight North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association (NCISAA) state 1-A championship.

The Warriors punched their ticket to the Final-Four with a 5-1 win over Faith Christian School of Rocky Mount here Tuesday. They’ll now join Wayne Country Day School, Wayne Christian School, and host Greenfield as Lawrence seeks another title.

The Warriors won in every way possible, banging out 14 hits led by William Norrell who was 2-for-2 with a triple and a run scored. Patrick Dilday also had a three-bagger and drove in a run while Blake Hill was 2-for-4 with one RBI and Cameron Peed drove in a pair of runs.

hey also shined on defense, coming up with several key stops midway through the game when they were nursing a one-run lead.

And, of course, they showed off their superior pitching as Chad Whitehead twirled a four hitter, striking out six and surrendering just four walks.

“Faith’s a school we’ve knocked out in the semi-finals the last two years,” said sixth-year coach Robert Kravitz, “and they showed today. They’re a strong nine-seed.

“We told our guys that they (Faith) were a team that could take the lead at any time,” he added, “but when they do, don’t panic, just play the game the way we’re capable of playing.

“We’re going to get everyone’s best,” he said shaking his head, “and it’s our job to make sure we play our best every game.”

Lawrence’s only miscues in the game came in the first inning when a pair of errors led to Faith breaking onto the scoreboard first with one out. But Whitehead settled down and struck out two of the next three to escape more damage.

It was still 1-0 in the Patriots favor when Lawrence began to rock.

In the bottom of the second with one out, Norrell sent a Zack Whichard fastball to straightaway center field and legged it out for a triple. Edge followed with a base hit to score Norrell and knot the score at 1-1.

Dilday then doubled to plate Edge all the way from first base for Lawrence’s first lead, 2-1; but Whichard got a line-out and a strikeout to avoid more Warrior scoring.

Faith was in scoring position in the top of the third with a man on second base but a bullet from catcher Jim Porter to Norrell nailed the runner on an attempted steal of third.

In the bottom of the frame Whitehead walked and pinch-runner Shane Leggett moved to second on a wild pitch. Hill then doubled down the left-field line to score Leggett for a 3-1 Warrior advantage.

More defense for Lawrence came in the fourth as a walk put a runner on first. The next batter singled to right field, but Edge fielded the ball on two hops and air-mailed a strike to Norrell to get the runner attempting to take third, snuffing another Patriot threat.

Lawrence (25-4) got two more runs in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out single and a double. Peed then put one in the gap in left-center to score both runners for a 5-1 lead.

Whitehead, who’d taken a shot off his throwing shoulder in the sixth, then pitched out of a jam with two on and the tying run in the on-deck circle in the top of the seventh. He then got a routine grounder on a breaking ball to end the game.

“They put the ball in play more than we did,” said Faith coach Joe Morrow. “We didn’t give them a chances to make a lot of errors. We’ve got one of the top teams in the state and look what they did to us.

“They’re your state champs,” he concluded, nodding toward the Lawrence dugout. “You can write that down.”

“All the pressure’s on us,” said Kravitz, “I’m excited about going back (to Wilson) because we’ve proved ourselves time and time again and this is just one more challenge for us to prove it again and go win some ball games.”

The Warriors will open play tomorrow (Friday) when they square off with number four seed Wayne Christian School in the semifinal contest. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.