Blake Walston’s second postseason start wasn’t as dominant as his first. It was still plenty good, though.
The sophomore lefty threw his second consecutive complete-game shutout, allowing only three hits to guide the second-seeded New Hanover baseball team to a 7-0 victory over No. 16 Fuquay-Varina in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
With the victory, the Wildcats (23-3) advanced to the best-of-three East Regional championship series. They will host No. 4 Holly Springs in the series opener early next week.
“It’s been a blast. The guys show up every day, get their work in, and I’ve told them a thousand times that I think most of time you get what you deserve,” New Hanover coach Richard Foy said. “If you work and you deserve to do well, you will. I think they’ve bought into that.”
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Walston turned in another dominant performance. He allowed only one hit in a 3-0 victory over Middle Creek last Friday. His command wasn’t as sharp against the Bengals (19-8), but he never faced a serious threat.
Fuquay-Varina had two runners reach second base, but none made it to third. Walston finished off the gem with a strikeout, his sixth of the evening.
A three-run fourth inning put New Hanover up 4-0.
The Wildcats added three more runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach.
After winning back-to-back one-run games, Fuquay-Varina didn’t have any magic left. They committed five errors and had a pair of base running miscues in the fourth.
“I’m proud of our ability to compete,” Bengals associate head coach Zach Boraski said. “We preached it all year and it finally caught on midway through the season that if we could compete every inning we’re going to have a chance no matter what. ... That is one heck of a team we played. They are well coached and very skilled. I think we gave them seven extra outs, and when you do that, you turn a bad team good and a good team great.”
Reporter Tim Hower can be reached at 910-343-2366 or Tim.Hower@StarNewsOnline.com