High School Sports

North Davidson beats Providence to even 4A baseball playoff series

dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Providence High, a victory away from its second consecutive state championship series berth, lost 5-1 to North Davidson in Game 2 of the best-of-three 4A West regional final at Providende on Thursday.

The loss sets up a winner-take-all Game 3 on Saturday at North Davidson.

Providence, trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, gave up three runs on a mishmash of mistakes. That left the Panthers with what proved to be an insurmountable five-run deficit.

Three who mattered

Corey Joyce, North Davidson: The third baseman stood out Thursday for his excellent fielding. On at least two occasions, he corralled tough ground balls to prevent Providence from stringing together hits.

Michael Johnson, North Davidson: Johnson pitched a complete game to keep the Black Knights alive this postseason. He threw over 100 pitches and only allowed one run.

Jason Garfinkle, Providence: The left fielder made the catch of the game Thursday. In the top of the sixth, he poked his glove over the wall to rob North Davidson’s E.P. Reese of a home run.

Worth mentioning

▪ A win Saturday would advance Providence to its second consecutive 4A state championship series. The Panthers won the title last season.

▪ Providence’s Logan Davidson, the N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year, scored the only run of the game for the Panthers. He stole third and home after a double in the bottom of the fifth.

▪ In their past two games before Thursday, the Panthers had scored a combined 24 runs.

They said it

▪ “I started trying to take him out probably the third inning. I couldn’t ever get the ball from him.” – North Davidson coach Mike Meadows on his starting pitcher.

▪ “It’s pressure that you don’t wanna express, but there’s a lot.” – North Davidson’s Michael Johnson on the pressure of starting an elimination playoff game.

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