Landon Michael screamed and made a beeline for home plate. His North Davidson teammates in the dugout followed suit. For the first time in school history, they had done it.
They were headed to the 4A state baseball championship.
After dropping the first game of the West region final to Providence, last season’s state champions, the Black Knights had to win two straight games to advance. And with their season on the line, they delivered twice, clinching at home on Saturday with a 3-2 win.
Michael pitched a complete game for the Black Knights, who complemented their starter with solid fielding in both the infield and outfield.
All three of North Davidson’s runs came in the fourth inning, giving them a lead they would never relinquish.
Three who mattered
Jed Bryant, North Davidson: Bryant’s double in the bottom of the fourth inning scored two Black Knights, putting his team up for good.
Satchel Jerzembeck, Providence: The shortstop had the catch of the game, a leaping grab in the first inning that led to a double play.
Tucker Jones, Providence: Jones’ solo home run with two outs in the final inning gave Providence a shot, but ultimately North Davidson hung on to win.
▪ In their past two games, the Panthers scored just three runs, a far cry from their 24 combined in the two games before that.
▪ Providence’s Logan Davidson’s high school career ended with the loss. The North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year finished the season with a 10-1 record.
▪ Odd play of the night: in the third inning, a North Davidson batter was hit and called for swinging on the same pitch. His at-bat continued and he later grounded out to first base.
▪ Including this year, the Panthers have played in the 4A West region finals three years straight.
▪ North Davidson got complete games from its pitchers in both elimination games.
They said it
“We’ll do what we always do. We’ve been doing it for 13 years. We’ll be back to this point.” – Providence coach Danny Hignight on getting back to the regional finals
“When I was out there on the mound, it just seemed like it was me and the mitt, zoned in. No other feeling I’ve had before.” – Landon Michael
“Landon Michael, he’s nine foot tall. I mean, he threw a gem and we got some timely hits. I’m proud of them, I don’t really know what to say.” – North Davidson coach Mike Meadows