West Brunswick baseball still in driver’s seat to take conference

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Despite a letdown late last week after a big win over Topsail to gain a two-game advantage in the Mideastern Conference, the West Brunswick baseball team still controls its own destiny heading into the final two games of the regular season.

Coming off a 3-2 setback to Ashley, the Trojans look to rebound this week with matchups at home against New Hanover and their regular season finale at Topsail on Friday, May 6.

Jonathan Carlyle.
Jonathan Carlyle.

At 9-1 in conference and 20-2 overall, West Brunswick got a little help from its cross-county counterparts back on Thursday. After suffering the loss to Ashley, the Trojans learned of Topsail’s 4-3 defeat to South Brunswick on the same night, which kept the two-game lead intact for top spot in the division.

West Brunswick needs to win just one of their two remaining games to clinch the outright conference crown. They would also secure the higher seed from the 3A portion of the division, which would give the Trojans a favorable path through the state playoffs with a couple of home games in Shallotte.

Junior Jonathan Carlyle has been the ace of the West Brunswick staff this season, with a 7-0 mark on the mound. He’s thrown a team-high 55.2 innings, fashioning a 0.75 ERA. Carlyle has allowed just six earned runs, while classmate Kevin Powers has filled  in as a solid number two starter. Powers is 8-1 on the hill.

The Trojans have stole 88 bases as a team this season. Hunter Ashburn has team-high .460 batting average, tied with Zach Johnson for leading run produced with 19 RBI’s.

After a disappointing 4-3 setback to a much improved South Brunswick ball club, Topsail looks to regain its form  with  three games scheduled for the final week of the regular season against Hoggard, Laney and West Brunswick.

Brad Pennington. Photo courtesy- John Crouch
Brad Pennington. Photo courtesy- John Crouch

In the 4A portion of league play, Hoggard has the upper hand on New Hanover when it comes to seeding for the upcoming state tournament, but the next few contests could play a big role in where each club lands come playoff time.

Shortstop Brad Pennington has been the catalyst for the Vikings, batting .439 this season, while Rob Wilkerson has been Hoggard’s best pitcher.

The Vikings have won four games in a row, the longest current streak of any club in the division.

Mideastern Conference baseball standings 

Team                            W-L (conf)          W-L (overall)

West Brunswick              9-1                      20-2

Hoggard                            7-3                      16-4

Topsail                               6-3                      13-8

New Hanover                   6-4                      13-6

South Brunswick             4-6                       12-7

Ashley                                3-7                      8-14

Laney                                 0-11                    4-18