Christian Tafoya tossed a complete game with just 73 pitches, allowing one run on three hits, while Kyle Stewart drove in a run and scored the eventual game-winner as Ashley edged Laney 2-1 on senior night.
“We had talked about getting ahead and throwing your breaking pitch for strikes all season,” said Ashley Coach Brian Stewart. “It makes it tough for the hitter when you’re doing that and Christian did an outstanding job of that tonight.”
The Screaming Eagles left a runner on base in each of the first three innings before scratching two across in the fourth. D.C. Russ singled to right with one out in the frame and eventually came around to score on a base hit to left by Stewart.
A two base throwing error by the Bucs in the next at-bat allowed the senior shortstop to cross the plate for the 2-0 lead.
“We talked to the guys after the first time through the order and told them to attack early in the count,” said Stewart. “They were throwing a lot of off-speed stuff, pitching backwards, so you need to attack that fastball early on and Kyle was able to get that ball through the hole to get us on the board.”
That’s all the support Tafoya would need as the sophomore issued just one walk before Laney broke up the no-hitter in the sixth.
“We’ve lived on throwing strikes early and making plays in the field,” said Stewart. “We can be pretty good when we do that and sometimes you’re not going to hit a lot, but it’s about getting the hits at the right time and that’s what we did tonight.”
Gage Vass led off with a base hit and back-to-back infield singles gave the Bucs their only run as Tafoya was able to wiggle out of trouble with a strikeout and lineout too short to leave a pair of runners stranded.
The right-handed hurler was able to bounce back after the sixth and used just four pitches in a 1-2-3 seventh to seal the victory.
Ashley improved to 5-6 in conference and 10-9 overall. Laney dropped to 3-8 in league play and 10-10 this year.
Box score R H E
Laney 000 001 0 1 3 3
Ashley 000 200 X 2 5 1
WP: Christian Tafoya LP: Stephen Hagewood
Topsail 10 South Brunswick 0
Clark Cota hit two home runs and Sam Hall went 3-for-3 at the plate with a homer to left as Topsail flexed its muscles in a 10-0 victory over South Brunswick to clinch the Mideastern Conference regular season title on Friday night.
The Pirates ran its unbeaten streak to 15 straight games and improved to 9-1 in league play. Topsail also recorded its 20th win of the season as the top 3A team in the state.
Cota put the visitors on the board with a two-run shot in the top of the first and Hall smacked one over the wall in the second.
Four different pitchers combined in the shutout as Payton Rice allowed no runs on three hits in four innings to record the result, while Hall, Bryce Cota and Sam Luchansky each tossed a scoreless frame.
The Pirates were listed at No. 2 in the nation by Maxpreps.com this week for medium-sized schools, which is recognized as schools with between 1,000 and 2,000 students. Topsail is 20-1 on the year.
Box score R H E
Topsail 211 012 3 10 12 0
South 000 000 0 0 4 3
West Brunswick 5 New Hanover 4
With the game tied at four in the bottom of the ninth, Austin Turner drove in Hunter Ashburn with a walk-off run scoring triple as West Brunswick rallied past New Hanover 5-4 in Shallotte on Friday night.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early two-run lead and made it 4-1 in the fifth when the Trojans stormed back. West Brunswick closed the deficit to one in the sixth and send the game into extra innings with one run on two hits in the seventh.
Jonathan Carlyle got the win on the mound as West Brunswick improved to 6-4 in conference and 17-4 overall. New Hanover dropped its second straight extra inning affair to fall to 5-5 in league play and 13-7 overall.
Topsail 12 South Brunswick 0
Topsail pounded 12 hits and took a four-run lead into the fifth when the Pirates erupted for eight runs to pick up a 12-0 win over South Brunswick on Friday.
Victoria Elder had three hits and drove in a pair of runs, while Hunter Bizzell and Hailey Grizzle each finished with 2 RBIs for the Pirates.
Ashley 8 Laney 6
Ashley jumped out to a five-run lead after two innings and held off a late surge by the Bucs in an 8-6 win on Friday night.
Trailing by six after the fifth, Laney battled back to make it a two-run game before the Screaming Eagles were able to record the final few outs to seal the victory.
West Brunswick 15 New Hanover 1
Ashley 19 New Hanover 5 (girls)
Ashley: Goals- Penka Heusinveld (5); Averee Gerold (5); Corissa Alkins (2); Katie Houston (3); Ashley Merritt (3); Bellamy Tyson
Assists: Averee Gerold (4); Corissa Alkins (6); Katie Houston; Saves: Kelsea Meadows (8); Jordyn Baker (3)
Hoggard 9 Chapel Hill 7 (boys)
New Hanover 6 Ashley 5 (boys)
South Brunswick 6 West Brunswick 5 2OT (girls)
Cape Fear Academy 5 Fayetteville Christian 1
Cape Fear Academy surrendered an early score, but tallied five unanswered goals as Carter Broderick recorded the hat trick in a 5-1 win over Fayetteville Christian. The Hurricanes are 7-1 in conference and 10-3-1 overall.
CFA- Goals: Carter Broderick (3); Maddie Buren; Katy Kohut
Assists: Libby Moore (2); Katy Kohut