Marvin Ridge built a big early lead and then hung on Saturday night, beating host China Grove Carson 7-6 and capturing the Western Regional 3A baseball championship.
The Mavericks (26-6) advance to next weekend’s state championship best-of-3 series against defending state champion Wilmington New Hanover.
Earlier Saturday, West Stanly wrote its ticket to the 2A state softball championships with a 7-0 victory over visiting Franklin in Game 3 of the Western Regional playoffs.
The Colts, whose undefeated season was spoiled by Franklin in Game 2 of the series Thursday, will face Eastern Randolph next weekend in the state championships.
Marvin Ridge 7, China Grove Carson 6: Before a standing-room-only crowd at Jesse Carson High on Saturday evening, the Mavericks held off a rally by the Chargers (28-4).
Marvin Ridge took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a Steven Gonzales two-run double. After Carson tied the game, the Mavericks scored three times in the third inning for a 5-2 lead. Gonzales slammed another RBI double, and Max Hyman walloped a two-run home run.
The Mavericks scored their final two runs in the top of the fourth, on a Carson Harris RBI single and a bases-loaded wild pitch.
Carson’s Ryan Street entered the game in the fifth inning and shut down the Mavericks, pitching three shutout innings.
Marvin Ridge starter Tyler Hall had a strong outing, allowing only two runs into the fifth inning. But he was lifted after reaching the pitch count, and Jesse Carson rallied with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Two of those scored on a Luke Barringer home run.
Cole Hales had two hits and two RBI for Carson.
Marvin Ridge won back-to-back 3A state championships in 2015 and 2016.
West Stanly 7, Franklin 0: The Colts (26-1) and Franklin (24-4) played in the heat Saturday afternoon, and it had an impact. Franklin starting pitcher Kellie Rogers was felled by an apparent heat-related illness in the bottom of the third inning and was replaced by Neweah Tran.
Ashlyn Hughes and Rosalyn McRae each smacked two-run homers in the bottom of the third, and Karsyn Furr added a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth.
Winning pitcher Jordan Hatch tossed a three-hitter, striking out seven.
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle