by Aaron Garcia
Menace win regional Little League title
After five innings of play on Aug. 3, it looked as if the Weddington Menace’s magical run was nearing an end. The Menace, an 11-and-under all-star team comprised of players from the Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association, had advanced to the final game of the 2011 Little League Southeast Tournament of State Champions in Greenville (S.C.) after winning the North Carolina title on July 21. But entering the sixth-and-final frame, Weddington was staring down a 3-0 deficit to the team from Tennessee with just three outs to go. Tennessee had built its lead after retiring the first 13 Weddington batters it faced.
But Weddington still had some magic left in its tank.
Menace player Mark Connor was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and was moved to second by a single from Zac Cerreta. Patrick Morrison then bunted the runners over and advanced to third on an error, scoring two runs to whittle down the Tennessee lead to one. Sam Mennitt, the Menace’s starting pitcher, then knotted the game at three apiece with a sacrifice fly. After a Cade Vela walk and a single from Matthew Helms, Reid Mayers’ hit to left field was misplayed, loading the bases for Josh Manuel, who drew a walk to give the Menace a 4-3 lead. Weddington added two more runs after a Scotty Tuttle single and a fielder’s choice to make it 6-3, giving the Menace the title.
Weddington opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over West Virginia on July 30 and blanked Alabama 10-0 the following day. The Menace suffered their only loss of the tournament on Aug. 1, falling to Georgia 5-2, but rebounded with a win over South Carolina, 9-5, in the semifinals on Aug. 2.
Pirates claim 7U title
Headed into this summer , the Porter Ridge Athletic Association’s 7-year-old all-star baseball team had one goal in mind: defend their Cal Ripken Baseball Western North Carolina state title they won as six-year-olds. On July 12, the Pirates accomplished that mission by winning the 7U title over their rivals from the Indian Trail Athletic Association.
The Pirates had to battle through the losers’ bracket after dropping their second game of the tournament to Indian Trail, 8-5 on July 11. The Pirates edged Bunker Hill 9-8 later that day for the right to face Indian Trail again, this time in the finals on July 12. After extra innings, Porter Ridge earned the win, 11-10.
All-State baseball team released
The N.C. Baseball Coaches Association released its all-state lists this week, and three local players were honored.
On the Class 2A level, Cuthbertson pitcher and outfielder Peter Hendel, Union County Weekly’s 2011 Baseball Player of the Year, was named to the team. Hendel, a University of North Carolina recruit, joined Piedmont’s Brad Elwood on the list. Elwood, Union County’s 2010 Baseball Player of the Year, signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Charlotte 49ers next year.
On the Class 3A list, Weddington’s Jordan Newsome was honored. Newsome, a Wingate commit and left-handed pitcher, has signed to join Wingate next school year.
Public has chance to win Golden Ticket
Area residents will have a chance to win “a sports enthusiast’s dream” in the coming months, now that the Charlotte Sports Commission, in collaboration with presenting sponsor Piedmont Natural Gas, has opened the first public Golden Ticket raffle.
The winner of the Golden Ticket raffle will receive tickets to every major sports event in the Charlotte area over the next year, including:
• Two tickets to all 2011 Carolina Panthers home games
• Two tickets to the first home game between the Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat
• Two weekly lawn/clubhouse passes to the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship
• Two 2011-12 season tickets to the Charlotte Checkers
• Two 2012 season tickets to the Charlotte Knights
• Two 2012 tickets to Charlotte’s Major League Lacrosse Team’s inaugural season
• Two 2012 season tickets to Charlotte Eagles’ soccer
• Two tickets to the 2012 Bank of America 500 NASCAR race
• Two tickets to the 2012 Sprint All-Star Race
• Two tickets to the 2012 Coca-Cola 600
• Two tickets to the 2012 Pit-Crew Challenge
• Two tickets to the 2011 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship
• Two tickets to the 2011 Belk Bowl
• Two tickets to 2012 CIAA basketball tournament
• Two tickets to the 2012 ACC Basketball Championship in Atlanta
Tickets can be purchased for $50 each by visiting the Charlotte Sports Commission’s website, www.charlottesports.org/goldenticket.
The raffle will close on Aug. 25 at midnight, and the winner will be selected and notified on Aug. 26. Once selected, the winner will be asked to attend an Aug. 31 ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte.
Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon
Registration is now open for the Carolina Panthers’ Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon, presented by CPI Security Systems. Group tickets and individual seats are available for the event, scheduled for Aug. 24 at the Charlotte Convention Center.
In its 10th year, the event is hosted annually by the Charlotte Sports Commission and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit Classroom Central, an organization geared toward providing local teachers from underprivileged schools free school supplies for their classrooms.
“This premiere event offers attendees the opportunity to help kick off the season with the Panthers organization and learn about the team’s upcoming plans and goals during head coach Ron Rivera’s first season, all the while supporting Classroom Central’s important mission to help under-privileged students,” said Charlotte Sports Commission’s Executive Director, Jeff Beaver.
To purchase tickets, visit the Charlotte Sports Commission website at www.charlottesports.org/countdown.