Providence High baseball coach Danny Hignight doesn’t want to hear talk of his team being the favorite in this week’s N.C. 4A championship series against Raleigh Millbrook.
Providence (29-3) is ranked No. 21 nationally by MaxPreps. Millbrook (20-10) entered the playoffs as a No. 21 seed. After Millbrook beat Fuquay-Varina 2-1 in Game 3 of the Eastern Regional championship series Friday, Millbrook coach Austin James told The (Raleigh) News & Observer that “nobody expected this. I don’t even know if I expected it earlier in the season.”
Hignight said any team that faces Millbrook has to deal with one of the state’s best pitching staffs and one of the state’s best pitchers.
Millbrook has a 3.04 ERA. Senior Alex Royalty, a right-handed pitcher, is 9-2 for the season with a 2.28 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 61 innings.
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“He’s averaging about 120 strikeouts per year, and he’s thrown seven complete games,” Hignight said. “He’s throwing in the high 80s and low 90s. I mean, this is the one sport where you can put a guy 60 feet, 6 inches away and he can dominate you. They’ve got three guys who are the real deal and we’ll match them up with our three. We’re no favorites.”
However, Hignight says his team is battle tested.
“We went to (previously unbeaten and national No. 5) South Caldwell and they said we were the favorites,” Hignight said with a laugh. “That’s as good a club as I’ve seen in 10 years. Then we go to North Davidson and we’re the favorites.
“They’ve got three guys who will get drafted in a year. So I don’t get into favorites. (Millbrook) will be well-coached and well-prepared, and we’re playing 10 minutes from their high school. It’s gonna be a rough environment. But I like our mindset and where we are. We’re not caught up in the hoopla. We just want to go play.”
Ardrey Kell senior Luke Lawson will play at Army next season. He’s the fifth player off the Knights’ 2014-15 team to earn a college scholarship.
The Knights, who reached the N.C. 4A championship game, were 28-2 last season.
Other college-bound Ardrey Kell players include Steven Santa Ana (Elon), Devin Cooper (Radford), Josh Freund and Rhyle Scott (Randolph). Overall, 14 Knights have signed with colleges since the school opened in 2006.
▪ Garinger boys’ basketball coach Carlton Anthony has resigned, Wildcats athletics director Tony Huggins said. Huggins said the job has been posted, and the school hopes to startinterviews soon .
Anthony coached Garinger for one season, going 4-19. He was Garinger’s fifth boys’ coach in seven seasons. The Wildcats have had one winning season since 2004 and are 14-92 the past five seasons.
Myers Park’s Walker Simas is the Southwestern 4A Player of the Year.
The all-conference team: Jonathan Brightwell, Independence; Henry Shimp, Myers Park; Hoke Carlton, Myers Park; Sean O’Connor, Porter Ridge; Christian Bailey, Porter Ridge; Nolan Mills, Myers Park; Will Simmons, Myers Park; Rex Brietz, Myers Park; Justin Seybuck, Porter Ridge; Grant Gilbert, Porter Ridge; Arnold Kim, Rocky River
Charlotte Country Day’s Trip Sappenfield was named a 2015 Brine All-American and will play in the Brine national lacrosse classic in Virginia, June 29-July 2. The classic looks to attract some of the nation’s top players to one venue, where regional teams will compete for national recognition in front of NCAA coaches.
Observer-area NCHSAA baseball championship series
4A: RALEIGH MILLBROOK (20-10) vs. PROVIDENCE (29-3)
At Five County Stadium, Zebulon
Game 1: Friday, June 5 at 8 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, June 6 at 2 p.m.
Game 3, if necessary: Saturday, June 6 at 8 p.m. (5 p.m. if no third game in 1A)
3A: PIKEVILLE CHARLES B. AYCOCK (23-5) vs. WAXHAW MARVIN RIDGE (27-5)
At N.C. State
Game 1: Friday, June 5 at 5 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, June 6 at 11 a.m.
Game 3, if necessary: Saturday, June 6 at 5 pm
▪ Get complete NCHSAA championship series pairings at charlotteobserver.com/sports/high-school