Topsail 2 West Brunswick 1
Right-handed hurler Payton Rice has been the go-to guy atop the rotation for the Topsail baseball team all spring and delivered once again on Friday as the Pirates grabbed a 2-1 result against West Brunswick in Hampstead.
Coming off three straight setbacks, Topsail handed the ball to its ace of the staff and Rice came through from 60-feet, six inches. The senior scattered five hits in a complete game effort, allowing one run to right the ship, with zero walks.
The Pirates struck early with two runs in the bottom of the first thanks to a two-out RBI single up the middle by Garret Myrka. Bryce Cota reached base on a throwing error and Chase Riker singled two batters later to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch advanced Cota and Riker 90 feet to set up the clutch two-run base hit by Myrka.
West Brunswick cut the deficit in the second after Tyler McDuffie doubled to lead off the frame. Jonathan Carlyle picked up the run batted in on a ground out to plate McDuffie, but that’s all the Trojans could put across as Rice fanned eight in the ball game.
A double by Hunter Ashburn to start the fourth went to waste when Rice picked up a big strikeout and induced a pair of groundouts to get out of trouble. Middle infielders Shane Nolan and Chase Riker also turned a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth to aid their pitcher.
Topsail improved to 7-4 in conference and 14-9 overall heading into their regular season finale against Laney on Saturday.
Despite the setback, West Brunswick finished the spring as Mideastern Conference Champions following a 10-2 mark in the division and 21-3 overall record. The Trojans now turn their attention to 3A playoff baseball beginning next week.
Box score R H E
W. Brunswick 010 000 0 1 5 1
Topsail 200 000 X 2 3 0
WP: Payton Rice (7IP, 1R, 1ER, 5H, 8K, 0BB)
New Hanover 1 South Brunswick 0
New Hanover and South Brunswick faced off in a pitchers’ duel at Legion Stadium on Saturday night as the Wildcats scratched one across in the bottom of the fifth to grab a 1-0 victory.
Adam Pecoraro struck out nine in a complete game shutout for New Hanover, while Derek Astoske and Andrew Phillips combined to allow just one run in six innings of work.
Burke Estes picked up the game-winning RBI and finished with two hits. Max Hildreth and Thomas Simmons also added a multi-hit effort.
New Hanover closed the regular season 7-5 in conference and 14-7 overall. South Brunswick dropped to 4-8 in the division and 12-9 on the spring.
Box score R H E
S. Brunswick 000 000 0 0 4 0
New Hanover 000 010 X 1 10 1
Hoggard 4 Ashley 1