PITTSBORO — The third time was definitely not charming for Carrboro.
Shut out twice in regular-season conference games by Carolina-12 champion Northwood, Carrboro stayed close for an inning Wednesday before a grand slam homer by catcher Andrew Webster in the sparked the Chargers to a 9-3 victory in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletics Association baseball playoffs.
Playing on a damp field under humid, sticky conditions, Webster lit up the scoreboard with 4-for-5 hitting that included two doubles, seven RBI and his third home run of the playoffs.
Five other Chargers — Adam Lowe, Jordan Riggsbee, Justin King, Dylan Stasko and Chase Golden — picked up one hit to help Northwood (23-5) advance to the East Region's best-of-three series for the second straight year.
"They're all good hitters here," Carrboro coach Nat Tyndall said. "But that grand slam – that hurt."
By mutual agreement of the coaches because rain is expected Thursday, Northwood will host North Brunswick (16-10) Friday in game one of the series, then travel to Leland for game two and host game three, if needed, Monday in Pittsboro.
Clark Streets (6-1) pitched a complete game for Wednesday’s win with one earned run.
Jeff Strongoli led off the game with a single up the middle, followed by a walk for Spencer Brown. Two Northwood errors helped Carrboro (13-12) score its first two runs against Northwood this year.
Northwood answered in the bottom of the first, starting with hits by Lowe and Riggsbee, then a King blooper into the outfield to score Lowe. A fielder's choice for Trevor Hackney allowed in courtesy-runner Cody Farrell with the tying run.
Northwood broke it open in the third, after Jon Mckee walked then Golden and Riggsbee were hit by pitches. Webster jumped on a fastball on the outside corner and sailed it 340 feet over the right-center wall for a 6-2 Northwo0d lead.
Webster said he wasn't surprised Carrboro lefthander Ben West pitched to him, despite his 10-for-15 hitting hot streak in the playoffs, since the bases were loaded.
"We've all been hitting well," he said. "I just hit it the way he gave it to me."
Webster hit two doubles into center to score Lowe in the fourth inning and then both Stasko and McKee in the fifth.
Carrboro's last run was all small ball: a single by West, followed by a bunt by Strongoli, a wild pitch and then a sacrifice fly into center by Spencer Brown.