Cardinal Gibbons was second out of 22 baseball teams in in the third-annual Golden Leaf Invitational in Wilson, behind only Greenville’s Oakwood School. Oakwood, Gibbons and C.B. Aycock went 3-0 and the tiebreaker was opponents’ win-loss records in the tournament.
Oakwood’s opponents finished 4-5 while Gibbons’ were 3-6 and Aycock’s were 2-7.
Kerr-Vance keeps rolling: The Kerr-Vance baseball team, fresh off winning the J.F. Webb Easter Tournament, defeated Oakwood 1-0 in a conference showdown on Thursday as Jabe Montgomery threw a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts.
Montgomery only had two walks, and the Spartans scored in the second inning as Cobly Wilkerson scored from third, driven in by Wil Short’s fielder’s choice.
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SWAC strength: The Southwest Wake Athletic 4A Conference went 19-6 in spring break baseball tournaments. Apex won the Wake County Invitational, while Holly Springs also went 3-0, just missing the title game. Green Hope (15-0 in the last five spring break tournaments) was 3-0 in the Bobby Murray, but also missed the title game on a tiebreaker.
Panther Creek (2-0) and Cary (3-0) were unbeaten in the round-robin Hilltop Invitational.
Deacon Jones Invitational: The latest installment of the North Johnston and Princeton baseball rivalry was one for the ages as the two longtime rivals faced off in the championship game of the Deacon Jones Invitational Thursday night.
Princeton’s Hunter Mitchell crossed home plate on a wild pitch on a fourth ball issued to Mason Rachels to give Princeton (9-3) the 5-4 extra inning win and the tournament championship.
“He did not hesitate,” Princeton coach Bruce Proctor said of Mitchell’s heads-up base running play that landed him on third base. “I’m standing there with my arms crossed smiling because I ain’t bringing him (over). He did it all on his own. I look up, and here he comes sliding in, and that’s just heads-up baseball.
“That’s the kind of stuff that players do that make coaches look smart that they had nothing to do with.”
The teams went back-and-forth over the game’s first few innings with Princeton twice jumping out to leads first on a Tyler Ricks RBI single in the first inning, and then a three-run second inning that was sparked by a pair of walks and a pair of hit batsmen.
Despite rallying a couple times, the Panthers (9-2) weren’t as efficient with runners in scoring position as they would have liked. North Johnston went 4-of-14 at the plate with runners at either second, third or both.
“We can’t get the timely hitting,” said North Johnston coach Brian Ford. “We can’t manufacture runs and we can’t do anything when we get runners on second and third with two outs. That killed us.”
It was the third win in extra innings in as many tries for Princeton this season.
“This is a huge game, especially for the seniors because it’s the last time we’ll ever play North Johnston,” said tournament MVP Matt Daughtry. “This gives a lot of confidence heading into the rest of our conference play.”
Princeton’s Nick Phillips, Mason Rachels, Tanner Flowers and Holden Hales made the all-tournament team along with North Johnston’s Holden Hales (3 for 3 in the title), Trey Whitley and Steven Worley.
MLB grads: Clayton grad Chris Archer, Holly Springs product Carlos Rodon and Athens Drive great Josh Hamilton are among the five locals on Major League Baseball opening day rosters.
Archer was the Tampa Bay Rays’ opening day starter while Rodon is the No. 3 starter for the Chicago White Sox. Hamilton is on the Texas Rangers’ 15-day disabled list.
The other two players are Pinecrest’s Seth Maness, a reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals and Smithfield-Selma grad Jerry Sands, an outfielder with Rodon and the White Sox.
Champions Challenge: The Triangle went 0-3 in Saturday’s lacrosse N.C. Champions Challenge, sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project and hosted by Charlotte Catholic.
The Durham Academy girls lost to Charlotte’s Myers Park 17-11; Apex’s boys fell to Marvin Ridge 14-13 in overtime; and the Cardinal Gibbons boys lost 9-7 to Charlotte Catholic.