Warriors repeat at McLawhorn Tournament

Published 9:52 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

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LASKER – Back-to-back.

For the second consecutive year, Ahoskie Christian School has earned the title of champions of the Sgt. Will McLawhorn Memorial Scholarship Tournament. The Warriors captured that first-place trophy again on Tuesday of this week with a 15-2 win over Ridgecroft School in the championship game.

Rev. Willie McLawhorn (foreground, right) stands with members of the Ridgecroft School baseball team after presenting them with the tournament’s runner-up trophy. Photo by Andre Alfred

The tournament, now in its 12th year, honors the late Sgt. Will McLawhorn, a Northeast Academy graduate who was killed in action in 2010 while serving in the U.S. Army stationed in Afghanistan. McLawhorn played baseball and basketball at Northeast, graduating in 2005.

“We really enjoy coming here to participate in this tournament, not because we have won it for two straight years, but rather due to the fact that it honors those who fight for our freedom,” said Ahoskie Christian head coach Chuck Munford.

“Northeast Academy [the event’s host team] puts on a great tournament. We thank them and the McLawhorn family for inviting us to participate,” the coach added.

In Tuesday’s championship game, Munford liked the effort he got from his team.

“We played well; did the things we needed to do to get a win,” he said.

The Warriors benefitted from a dominating performance on the mound from right-hander Conner Munford. He allowed only one hit while fanning 10 batters, including six of the first seven he faced, and only walked one.

Offensively, Ahoskie Christian was led by Jesse Winn who had three hits and drove home three runs. The Warriors also took advantage of six walks, six errors, four hit batsmen, and aggressive baserunning (a combination of stolen bases, wild pitches, and passed balls).

Ahoskie Christian would wind up scoring all the runs they eventually needed by plating four markers in the top of the first, despite having only one hit (Winn’s RBI single). Munford (on a botched rundown after leading off with a walk, stealing second and moving to third on a passed ball), Hunter Pearce (on Winn’s hit after drawing a walk and advancing two bases on passed balls), Winn (on a delayed steal after stealing second and advancing to third on a passed ball), and Steven Stroud (on an error after walking and stealing second and third) scored for the Warriors in their first at-bat.

Earning $1,000 scholarships at this year’s Sgt. Will McLawhorn Memorial Tournament are, from left, Hunter Martin of Northeast Academy, Jesse Winn, and Connor Munford, both of Ahoskie Christian School. The scholarships were presented by tournament director, Rev. Willie McLawhorn (right). Contributed Photo

Winn smacked a two-run single to centerfield to increase Ahoskie Christian’s lead to 6-0 in the second inning.

The Warriors broke the game open in the third inning, scoring eight times to take a commanding 14-0 lead. Brenden Pearce, Tyler Martin, and Winn delivered the key hits in that at-bat. ACS also took advantage of four Ridgecroft errors, including one that allowed two runs to score, and a bases-loaded walk.

Ridgecroft broke through in the bottom of the third where they plated a pair of runs. Grafton Williams got that started by ripping one-out single to leftfield. One out later, Williams, who had advanced on an error and moved to third on a throw to the plate, scored when Lake Myers reached on a fielder’s choice. Myers would score on an error.

Thanks to an error, Jacob Early scored Ahoskie Christian’s final run in the top of the fourth after he had reached on a walk.

Ahoskie Christian advanced to the championship game by edging Northeast Academy, 6-5, in Monday’s opening round. Ridgecroft defeated Bethel Assembly Christian Academy, 13-9, on Monday.

The tournament awarded scholarships to Hunter Martin of Northeast Academy, and Munford and Winn of Ahoskie Christian. Each scholarship was $1,000.

Now in it’s 12th year, the tournament has awarded 43 scholarships totaling $25,000.

“We can’t do this without the support of our great sponsors and the generosity of Northeast Academy for hosting our tournament,” stated Rev. Willie McLawhorn. “We look forward to doing this again during the Easter holiday next year.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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