Ardrey Kell struck for three runs in the first inning Tuesday night and cruised to an 8-1 victory over host East Forsyth in the first game of the 4A Western Regional championship series.
Meanwhile, three Charlotte-area teams – Concord Cox Mill (3A), Lake Norman Charter (2A) and Monroe Union Academy (1A) – won Western Regional girls’ soccer championships Tuesday and advanced to Saturday’s state finals.
They join Myers Park, which won the 4A girls’ soccer crown.
▪ In baseball, Ardrey Kell will have a chance to sweep the best-of-three series and advance to the state championships Thursday evening, when it plays at home. If a third game is needed, it will be Saturday at East Forsyth.
Starting pitcher Luke Carpenter and Garrett Sullivan combined to blank East Forsyth (23-6), which had won 16 games in a row.
Carpenter went 5.1 innings, allowing two hits. Sullivan finished, surrendering just one hit.
The Knights (25-5) also scored three runs in the sixth inning and got two RBI each from Cam Brantley, Trey Tujetsch and Sam Edwards.
Tujetsch, one of the Knights’ two pitching standouts, is expected to start Thursday evening.
North Lincoln drops opener
North Lincoln lost home-field advantage in its 2A Western Regional championship baseball series, falling 11-4 to Ledford in Game 1 Tuesday night.
Ledford (27-3) made the most of a few hits, scoring three runs in the top of the third inning on just one hit and adding seven runs in the fourth inning on three hits.
Control problems hurt North Lincoln pitchers, who surrendered two walks in the third inning and five walks and a hit batsman in the fourth. Aydan Holt slammed a three-run double for Ledford in the fourth inning.
North Lincoln (25-3) avoided having the game shortened by the 10-run rule when it scored twice in the bottom of the fifth on a Tyler Lilly single. The Knights loaded the bases in the sixth inning, but Ledford reliever Will Bethune ended the rally without allowing a run.
Lincoln Charter falls in 1A
Murphy scored single runs in the first, fourth, fifth and seventh innings and downed visiting Lincoln Charter 4-1 in Game 1 of the 1A Western Regional championship baseball series. Murphy (25-0) scored on an RBI single by Nathan Barolet in the first, added a run on a fielder’s choice in the fourth, and scored on a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
The margin could have been worse, as Murphy left the bases loaded in the first and two runners aboard in the fourth and fifth innings.
Cox Mill in 3A soccer title match
Concord Cox Mill’s dramatic rally carried the Chargers past visiting Skyland Roberson 3-1 and into Saturday’s 3A state championship girls’ soccer finale.
Cox Mill (19-2-2), which will face Chapel Hill for the state crown, trailed 1-0 in the closing minutes of regulation but tied the game and forced overtime. The first extra session was scoreless, but Cox Mill senior captain Sarah McHale scored two goals in the second overtime.
Lake Norman Charter in finals
Lake Norman Charter won a battle of unbeatens, downing host Salisbury 2-0 in the 2A Western Regional girls’ soccer championship.
The Knights (22-0-1) scored their first goal at the 10-minute mark of the opening half and added a goal with 18 minutes remaining. Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Rosenberger logged the shutout. Salisbury finished with a 25-1 record.
Lake Norman Charter will face Kill Devil Hills First Flight in Saturday’s state title match.
Union Academy wins in rout
Monroe Union Academy, the top seed of the 1A Western Region, cruised to an 8-0 victory over visiting Lincoln Charter in the regional girls’ soccer championship match.
Senior Caleigh MacKinnon led the way, with two goals and three assists. Sophomore Sarah Brown added two goals and two assists, and freshman Mia Fraticelli had a pair of goals for the Cardinals (24-1). Chiara Coppin had six saves in goal for Union Academy in 67 minutes, and substitute Litzy Ambriz added two saves in the remaining 13 minutes.
Lincoln Charter (20-2-1) was playing for the second consecutive night, after beating South Stokes in three overtimes Monday evening in the Western Regional semifinals. That match had been postponed by rain on Saturday.
Alexander takes softball opener
Host Alexander Central built a 5-1 lead after five innings and held off a rally by China Grove Jesse Carson for a 5-4 victory in Game 1 of the 3A Western Regional softball championship series.
The Cougars (25-5) scored twice in the first inning and three more times in the bottom of the fifth. Winning pitcher Chesney Millsaps smacked a two-run home run in the first inning, and Gracie Rhoney also collected two hits.
Jesse Carson (20-7) closed the margin to 5-2 with a run in the sixth and then scored two more times in the top of the seventh, but Millsaps closed out the victory. Maci Cooper, Kary Hales, Kaitlyn Honeycutt and Jess Freeze each had two hits for Jesse Carson, and Jewell drove in two runs.
The game was halted for 72 minutes due to a thunderstorm in Taylorsville.
Bunker Hill stuns Franklin
Claremont Bunker Hill scored twice in the sixth inning and stunned top-seeded and previously unbeaten Franklin 2-0 in the first game of the 2A Western Regional softball title series.
The visiting Bears (17-6) scored on a two-run double by Sidney Ammons. It was the first loss in 23 games this season for the Panthers.
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