Leesville Road junior right-hander Ryan Sande allowed no hits and only two runners to reach base Wednesday in the Pride’s 3-0 victory over East Chapel Hill in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A baseball playoffs.
Sande hit a batter and walked one.
“I felt really good from the start,” Sande said. “My curveball and my change-up were feeling good, but I was able to throw my fastball pretty hard, so that was good today, too.
Leesville coach Guy Civitello said getting a complete game on just 95 pitches (62 of them strikes) from Sande was huge. The Pride is scheduled to play Apex Friday in the second round.
“We couldn’t play Tuesday, so here we are playing (Wednesday) with a game Friday,” Civitello said. “We didn’t have to go to our bullpen at all, so we’ve got the whole staff available going into our next game … except Ryan. That’s really big.”
No. 1 Cougars fall: Wake Forest moved to the No. 1 spot in The News & Observer high school softball rankings on Tuesday but was ousted from the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs in the first round on Wednesday, 4-3 by Panther Creek.
Freshman pitcher Cassidy Somers scattered 10 hits, striking out two, while holding the Cougars to their lowest scoring total since a 4-3 loss to Leesville Road on April 9.
“We began the season with three quality pitchers, and towards the end of our season, she stood alone,” Catamounts coach Bryan Cromer said.
Panther Creek (9-9, 6-9 Southwest Athletic) made the playoffs as a wild card selection but never trailed the Cougars, who finished 16-2-1 overall after going 13-1 in the Cap Eight.
“We have a lot of respect for Panther Creek, as they are a young team that has gotten a lot better since the beginning of season,” Wake Forest coach Sam Hershey said. “We know they have been beating some really good teams late in the game just to come up a little short so we definitely took them very seriously.”
Panther Creek will play at Fuquay-Varina in the second round.
“I was kind of nervous, but I knew that we could pull it out,” Somers said. “Nobody expected us to, but we had good defense and good offense. ”
Fuquay won both conference matchups against Panther Creek this season, including a come-from-behind 12-10 victory over the Catamounts in the teams’ second meeting last month.
Staying at Cleveland: Cleveland defensive tackle Sterling Johnson, who committed to Clemson this week, heard rumors that he might transfer to another high school for his senior year, but he plans to stay with the Rams.
Scott Riley is the new Cleveland coach, succeeding Marc Morris, who resigned.
“I want to finish what we’ve started,” Johnson said. “When I was an eighth-grader, I set goals of having 20 scholarship offers, being a defensive MVP, being a conference player of the year and playing in a state championship game. I’ve done the first three.
“Few people realize it, but we’ve got about 16 starters back. We’re going to have a good team.”
Home run race: Madison’s Michaela Drewnoski and Pikeville Aycock’s Meredith Burroughs are in the midst of a softball home run race. Drewnoski hit two in a game last week, her 40th and 41st of her career.
Burroughs hit two homers in a game last week, also her 40th and 41st.
The NCHSAA record for career homers was 40 by Izzy McCurry of Asheville Roberson in 2010 through 2013.
Burroughs shares the NCHSAA record for home runs in a season with 19 in 2012.
W.E. Warnock and Caryn Grant contributed to this story.