Let’s play three!
That was the common theme Thursday evening for Charlotte-area baseball and softball teams competing in Western Regional best-of-3 finals.
In baseball, host Marvin Ridge edged China Grove Carson 6-5 and forced a third game in their 3A regional championship series.
And West Lincoln pounded North Lincoln 9-0, forcing a third game in their 2A series.
It was the same in softball.
Marvin Ridge downed Central Cabarrus 5-2, which means the two teams will play a decisive Game 3 on Friday evening for the 3A West crown.
And in 2A, visiting West Stanly suffered its first loss of the season, falling 2-1 to Franklin. The teams will decide their series Saturday in Game 3.
Marvin Ridge 6, China Grove Carson 5: The Mavericks jumped to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, scoring on five hit, two errors, and a pair of walks.
They took a 6-2 lead into the seventh inning, but the Chargers (28-3) rallied. A two-run double by Cole Hales made it 6-4, and Jesse Carson cut the deficit to 6-5 on an infield groundout.
But Marvin Ridge reliever Drew Cognac ended the game by striking out a Carson hitter for the third out.
Marvin Ridge (25-6) will visit Carson at 7 p.m. Saturday in Game 3 of the 3A series.
West Lincoln 9, North Lincoln 0: Host West Lincoln (22-8) scored five runs in the first inning off North Lincoln starter Seth Whitley and coasted to victory. Seth Willis pitched a four-hitter for the victors, and Dylan Smith (three hits, two RBI) and Bobby Beam (two hits, two RBI) provided the offense.
North Lincoln (23-6) will host West Lincoln at 7 p.m. Friday in Game 3 of the 2A series.
Marvin Ridge 5, Central Cabarrus 2: The Mavericks (20-4) stayed alive in the 3A series behind the pitching and hitting of Gabby Baylog. Pitching before a capacity crowd at Central Cabarrus, Baylog limited the Vikings (25-4) to seven hits, and she slammed a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
Ally Bigham had two hits and an RBI for Marvin Ridge, and Kelly Dobos also drove in a run.
The teams will decide the series at 6 p.m. Friday at Marvin Ridge.
Franklin 2, West Stanly 1: The visiting Colts tasted defeat for the first time in 26 games this season and had a couple of near-misses.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning, West Stanly appeared to tie the game on a sacrifice fly. But umpires ruled that the Colts’ runner left third base before the fly ball was caught, negating the run.
Then West Stanly loaded the bases in the seventh but couldn’t score.
Franklin (24-3) scored its runs in the first inning on a walk and two hits.
Game 3 in the series will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at West Stanly.
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle