The NCHSAA 4A state baseball playoffs usually run through the Providence Panthers and this season was no exception.
Tuesday night, the Ardrey Kell Knights came to Providence and beat their rival 4-0 in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A plaoffs.
No. 8 seeded Ardrey Kell will host No. 13 West Forsyth Friday night at 7 in a state quarterfinal.
The Knights junior starting pitcher Luke Carpenter went 6 1/3 innings while scattering two hits and yielding no runs to help Knights win against their biggest rival. Only reaching the maximum pitch count prohibited Carpenter from finishing his masterpiece. Knights’ reliever Garrett Sullivan got the final two outs to close out the Panthers.
“Luke pitched that way for us all year and we have a lot of confidence when he’s on the mound,” said Knights’ coach Hal Bagwell. “We kept them off balance as much as we could, pounded the zone and played good defense too.”
Panthers’ senior starting pitcher Timmy Townsend (College of Charleston commit) worked himself out of a huge first-inning jam. A lead-off single by Ardrey Kell’s Cam Brantley and two consecutive walks filled the bases with nobody out. But Townsend hunkered down to get the next three batters on two strikeouts sandwiched around a force groundout at home.
After a scoreless game through three innings, Ardrey Kell broke through with three runs in the fourth inning by taking advantage of four Providence walks and two timely hits. With two on and one out, Knights’ third baseman Jakob Cohn doubled home the first run while putting runners on second and third. Ardrey Kell’s Jack Scott then executed a perfect suicide-squeeze bunt to score the Knights’ second run. Ardrey Kell’s Joe Verdeschi then walked with the bases loaded for the third run of the inning.
Providence yielded nine walks in the game.
In two playoff games so far, Ardrey Kell has yielded just one run in 14 innings.
The home field advantage between Providence and Ardrey Kell this season was non-existent. In the two-game, regular-season series, the visiting team won each time. In Tuesday’s playoff game the Knights won again on Providence’s field.
They Said It
“It’s just the little things you do every day that helps you become what you need to be when the team needs you. The work ethic, the defense playing behind me, and batters coming through getting big hits. It was just a whole team effort tonight. It’s the brotherhood is what we call it at Ardrey Kell.” Knights pitcher Luke Carpenter on the what it took to win Tuesday’s playoff game against Providence.
AK 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 4
PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
AK Pitching: IP H ER W
Luke Carpenter 6 1/3 2 0 2
Garrett Sullivan 2/3 0 0 0
PR Pitching: IP H ER W
Timmy Townsend 3 1/3 4 3 4
Ethan Reese 2 1/3 2 0 3
Will Palinkas 1 1/3 1 1 2
Charlotte Christian 7, Providence Day 2: Christian (26-7) beats its CISAA rival to advance to Friday's best-of-3 championship round against nationally ranked High Point Wesleyan (21-1). Wesleyan beat Christian two games to none in a 2017 best-of-3 championship series.
China Grove Carson 4, Marvin Ridge 0: Carson got dominant pitching performance from Major League Draft prospect Owen White to upset Marvin Ridge’s 3A power at Marvin Ridge. White helped limit the Mavericks to four hits. Marvin Ridge also had five errors.
High Point Wesleyan 4, Charlotte Country Day 1: Wesleyan raced out to a 4-0 lead in the N.C. Independent Schools quarterfinals, and it ended the Bucs' season.
Wesleyan out-hit Country Day 8-5 and advanced to Friday's N.C Independent Schools championship game.
CCDS 000 010 0 1 5 1
WCA 210 100 x. 4 8 1
Winning Pitcher: Cozart. Losing Pitcher: Merchant.
Leading hitters CCDS: Hosmer 1-3, Greene 1-3, RBI, Roberson 1-3, Jeffries 1-3. WCA: Cozart 2-3, Prillaman 2-3, RBI, Jordan 2-3.