by Aaron Garcia
Weddington baseball’s hot start carries over to league play
The Weddington baseball team opened Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference play on March 20 with a 9-0 win over Porter Ridge, improving the Warriors’ overall record to 4-2. Junior Drew Bostic, a Clemson recruit, picked up the win after allowing just two hits and recording 12 strikeouts.
It was the third consecutive win for the Warriors, who faced one of the state’s toughest non-conference schedules in which they downed Charlotte powers Ardrey Kell, Providence and Charlotte Christian, and dropped a pair of games to South Mecklenburg. Together, those teams have accumulated a 32-9 record.
“The thing you learn and what I try to tell (my players) is, when you face (players such as Ardrey Kell ace and North Carolina signee Trent Thornton) and (Arkansas signee and Providence ace Ty Buttrey) and (South Mecklenburg’s top starter Andrew Mauldin), you’re probably not going to see a lot of better arms than those guys,” Weddington coach Travis Poole said. “I think it sets us up to be prepared for when we do. That’s why I like playing them. They’re well-coached teams, and I know we’re going to get a good ballgame every time out.”
The Warriors might be on the verge of getting even better, as sophomore Sean Collins, a 6-foot-4 right-handed sophomore pitcher who has committed to the University of Virginia, was scheduled to make his first start of the season on March 21 after missing the early part of the campaign with an injury.
While the Warriors’ offense is still improving, Poole commended the play of senior catcher Andrew Knight, whose grand slam helped seal the win over Providence, as well as junior pitcher Jeremy Schellhorn and center fielder/closer David Pope, who has been solid in the lead-off spot.
While the non-conference slate won’t do much as far as playoff seedings are concerned, Poole said the confidence gained in that stretch should pay dividends.
“I’m just a big believer that if you get kids going, a lot of winning is believing you can win,” Poole said. “I think right now, in a lot of ways, our kids believe they have a chance to win – I really do. To me, that’s about 80 percent of winning.”
The Warriors conclude their series against Porter Ridge on Friday, March 23, before starting a three-game series against Sun Valley on Tuesday, March 27.
Pirates drop league opener
After a six-game non-conference schedule, the Porter Ridge baseball team entered Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference play with the league’s best record (4-2), which included a pair of wins over Piedmont and another over a strong Cornelius Hough team. But the Pirates came down to earth a bit this week after losing their conference opener, 9-0, to Weddington on March 20.
“They took us a little bit out of our game plan as far as putting the ball in play and making something happen,” said Pirates coach Trey Staviski, whose team managed two hits in the loss to Weddington.
Staviski also added that after committing just four errors in the team’s first five games, “We’ve kicked the ball around a little bit lately. We’ve just got to refocus and regroup and come back with a different perspective.”
But Staviski also said the two-hit shutout is not indicative of what his team is capable of, now that conference play is starting.
“It’s tough opening up with a team like Weddington, as good as they are with their pitching, but I feel like we’re prepared (for conference play),” Staviski said. “On any given day in the conference, anybody can beat anybody. It’s going to be interesting.”
Cavs host, win track and field meet
The Cuthbertson track and field team hosted a meet on March 15, which included boys and girls teams from Charlotte Catholic, Charlotte Olympic, Weddington and Matthews Covenant Day, and several Union County athletes picked up wins at the event.
In the girls competition, the Cavs picked up six wins. The victors included Madison Simmons, who won the 1,600-meter run in 5 minutes, 39.70 seconds; Nikolete Hurrinus, who picked up wins in the 200 (26 seconds) and the 400 (1:00.10); Deja Burks, who won the high jump with a height of 4 feet, 8.5 inches; and Liz Wood, who cleared 9-3 to win the pole vault.
The Cavs’ 4×400 relay team of Hurrinus, Veronica Pfaff, Tyneshia Walker and Mikaela Seibert also took gold in 4:22.10. Weddington’s quartet of Brianna Hood, Margaret Livingston, Victoria Buwick and Elizabeth Nichols took top honors in the 4×100 (53.9).
Union County athletes won five events in the boys competition. Weddington’s Michael Fanous posted a time of 42.2 to win the 300 hurdles, while the height of 6-4 was good enough to give teammate Cole Finch the win in the high jump. Cuthbertson claimed the other three wins as Matt Russell won the 400 in 52 seconds and Emmitt Afam took the long jump by clearing 19-9.5. Austin Seibert, Russell, Maurice Little and Afam also teamed to win the 4×100 (44.40).
Cuthbertson won the girls team competition with 127.9 points, followed by Charlotte Catholic with 89.4. Weddington took fourth with 27.5. Olympic won the boys competition with 96.33 points but was followed closely by Cuthbertson (87.83) and Weddington (83.83), which finished second and third, respectively.