Published 11:35 am Monday, May 15, 2017
MERRY HILL – Lawrence Academy’s march to another state championship continued, this time at the expense of TIC rival Ridgecroft School, as the Warriors took a run-rule six inning win over the Rams here Thursday, 11-1.
The second-round NC Independent Schools Athletic Association game was played two days ahead of schedule to avoid the threat of inclement weather.
Despite entering the game on a high-note following their first post-season baseball win in nine years one day earlier, the Rams could not contain the Warrior juggernaut.
“We gave ‘em all we could, we just ran out of gas,” said Rams coach Joe Maione.
Eighth-grader Bryce Stevens started for the Rams as the visitors took an early lead in the first inning. An error with two outs scored the one and only run for Ridgecroft.
Lawrence threatened in the bottom of the second with two on and two out as Gavin Smithwick smacked a base-hit. Charles Atkins tried to score from second, but was thrown out at the plate by leftfielder Tucker Lane.
It took the Warriors another inning to figure out Stevens and claim the lead for good with two runs in the third inning. Nixon Rascoe walked, stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on Austin Wynne’s single. Wynne advanced to third on back-to-back passed balls, before scoring the go-ahead run on Slade Cowan’s double that made it 2-1, Lawrence.
Three more runs came in the fourth when Atkins, Miller Trowell, and Smithwick all reached base. Rascoe’s walk was one RBI, while Wynne’s second RBI drove in the second run of the inning and Smithwick was successful when he tried to score on the throw. That would make the score 5-1, Warriors.
Jarrett Harrell came on to relieve starter Wood Trowell in the top of the fifth, and in the bottom of the inning, he scored his team’s sixth run.
Lawrence finally put it away with five runs in the sixth inning on a single by Wood Trowell, a double by Harrell, a groundout by Atkins, a single, and two RBI for DaQuan Wilson on a walk and a single.
“We executed some things,” said Lawrence coach Jason Wynne. “Now we just have to maintain focus.”
Wood Trowell earned the win going four and two-thirds innings, giving up a run, a hit, and striking out seven. Harrell recorded the last four outs. Stevens went five innings, giving up nine runs and eight hits to take the loss for the Rams. Basnight came on in the sixth in relief.
Lawrence had ten hits in the game. Wynne and Harrell were 2-for-4 with Wynne driving in three runs, and six more of his teammates collecting RBI’s. Zeb Askew led Ridgecroft with one hit in three at bats, the Rams’ lone safety of the game.
Lawrence awaits the winner of Statesville Christian and Wayne Christian; that game was rained out Thursday and was not complete by press time. The Warriors will host the semi-final on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Merry Hill, hoping to advance to Greenville on Friday for the state championship.