FUQUAY-VARINA — The Fuquay-Varina baseball team has been in attack mode most of the season, and it hasnt stopped in the playoffs.
Fuquay-Varina won its third straight playoff game by eight runs or more, taking down defending state champion Middle Creek 8-0 Friday night to set up a Monday fourth-round game against Green Hope.
The Bengals (23-3) broke open a close game in the bottom of the third inning. The Bengals scored five runs, batted around the order and forced two pitching changes in the frame.
Winning pitcher Brett Daniels tied the schools single season record for wins at 11, allowing just three base hits. Middle Creek did have runners in scoring position in the early innings but the Bengals defense came through to prevent the Mustangs from scoring.
After the third, Daniels didnt allow another Mustang to get past first base.
Tonight we got a lot of doubles and walks and that was the difference, Fuquay coach Milton Senter said. Our pitching was great and our defense played very well. Were happy with the eight runs, but when you get pitching like that you dont really need but one. Im happy with the way the kids are playing.
Bengal senior catcher Brian Mitchell had a big night both at the plate and behind it. In the second Mitchell picked a runner off of third, and in the third his two-RBI double helped propel the Bengals big rally. Mitchell also added another double in the sixth inning.
Our offense has really stepped up this year and our pitching is winning us games, Mitchell said. The pickoff wasnt a called play, just a reaction between me and third baseman Jordan (Bissette), but it gave us that momentum.
Fuquay rapped out nine hits, including five doubles. In addition to Mitchell, Garrett Suggs, Daniels (two runs) and Bissette also doubled. Lucas Scott, D.J. Burt, Nick Yarbrough, Nick Stuart all scored for the Bengals.
The Mustangs were playing their fourth consecutive game on the road, including three in the postseason. Middle Creek (14-8) pitcher Graham Edwards took the loss, while Diego Guerro had two of their three hits.
Theyre a great team, very well coached, and we knew we were going to have to play a really clean game like our last two, said Middle Creek head coach Jeremy Thompson, whose team beat Fuquay last season en route to the state title. We just didnt do it, but all the congratulations to them.
We had a lot of injuries and adversity this year, but our true character came out in the playoffs.
Thompson was coaching in his last game, as he is assuming the athletics director position at the school this summer.