No. 2 D.H. Conley 2 No. 3 Hoggard 5
After a blowout win at home against No. 6 Sanderson on Wednesday, the Hoggard Vikings had to come from behind in Greenville Friday night to earn a spot in the 4A east regional championship series.
Junior right-hander J.P. Price had a solid outing on the mound but found his team down 2 – 0 to the D.H. Conley Vikings after four innings thanks to some defensive miscues, but errors on the other side led to a multi-run fifth for No. 3 Hoggard.
After Conley starting pitcher Bryant Packard walked the first two Hoggard batters of the inning, he was replaced by fellow senior Phillip Sanderson. With two on and no outs, two big errors by Conley’s infielders allowed Hoggard to tie the game at 2 – 2. An RBI groundout by senior Connor Simpson and a single by sophomore Matthew Suggs gave the Wilmington team a 4 – 2 lead.
The local Vikings got an insurance run in the top of the seventh after shortstop Brad Pennington got a leadoff walk, then advanced to second on a bunt and third on a wild pitch. He scored on a base hit by Simpson, who notched his second RBI of the night. Only one of the five runs was charged as an earned run to Conley pitchers.
The home team threatened in the bottom of the seventh, but solid relief pitching preserved the game for Hoggard. Back-to-back singles by Packard and junior Noah Jones chased Price, who only gave up five hits all night (including two each to Packard and Jones), from the game. Pennington came in to close out the game and retired the side.
Hoggard improved to 22-4 and carry a 10-game winning streak into the east regional championship series. They will face No. 4 Green Hope in a three-game set starting Wednesday and have home field advantage in the series. D.H. Conley finished their season with a record of 23-4.
No. 17 Topsail 7 No. 5 Orange 0
Junior Josh Madole led off the game with a home run, and the Topsail Pirates never looked back as they blanked the No. 5 Orange Panthers 7-0 in 3A action on Friday night.
Though starting pitcher Payton Phelps walked seven batters in six innings of work, the right-handed senior allowed just three hits and recorded four strikeouts. William St. Ledger pitched one inning in relief of Phelps to preserve the win.
Only two Panthers advanced past first base all night. Designated hitter Austin Sykes started the bottom of the second inning with a single and advanced on a sacrifice fly. Chandler Compton then walked, putting runners on first and second with just one out, but Phelps worked himself out of the jam. A single and a walk also put two Orange runners on in the bottom of the sixth, but Phelps and the Pirates again escaped unscathed.
Offensively, the Hampstead team was led by second baseman Chase Riker, who went 2-4 with 3 RBI. Sam Hall, Garret Myrka and Cameron Kimrey also had two hits apiece for the Pirates. Topsail scored against three of the four pitchers they faced and only went down in order once, in the fourth inning.
After playing on the road Friday night, No. 17 Topsail will have home field advantage for the three-game 3A east regional championship series, which starts Tuesday. They will face No. 19 Corinth Holders, who came from behind Friday night to topple No. 2 West Brunswick in extra innings.
Topsail’s record improved to 19-9, while Orange finished their season at 21-7.