Midtown: Sports

Leesville Road continues streak of late wins

Leesville Road’s baseball team needed extra innings at home Friday night against Sanderson. The Pride led for most of the game, but Sanderson tied the score in the seventh inning. Leesville Road coach Chad Smothers then watched centerfielder Sean Ross hit a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Pride a 6-5 victory.

Ross’ base hit drove in Dillon Cooper.

The win kept the Pride undefeated at 8-0.

Friday’s game wasn’t the first time Leesville Road won this season in dramatic fashion. To start the year, the Pride beat Green Hope 2-1 with the winning run coming in the seventh inning. Leesville Road has also won three games in extra innings, including a 6-4 win over Wakefield last week and an 8-7 victory over Apex.

“It’s been exciting,” Smothers said. “It’s probably not a good way to live, but it’s been a lot of fun. The kids have competed really hard.”

Smother said catcher Matt Saylor has been one of his best players. Saylor has managed the pitching staff along with getting clutch hits. Plus, Smothers has seen Saylor pickoff a few base runners this season.

“He’s really taken some teams out of scoring opportunities,” Smothers said. “He’s done a great job.”

In the win over Wakefield, Luke Emmett had the game-winning hit that drove in two runs in the top of the eighth innings.

Smothers said the Pride still struggle at time defensively. Leesville Road could have defeated Sanderson in seventh inning, but the Pride couldn’t record a double play and instead made an error on the play that ultimately forced extra innings.

“It’s just not always been pretty,” Smothers said, “but the kids have just found a way to win.”

Conference cup update: The N.C. High School Athletic Association announced Friday the Wells Fargo Conference Cup standings through the 2011-12 winter sports season.

Individual conferences determine how points are awarded in the Conference Cup standings. Most often, the points are based on regular-season finish in the league.

The Wells Fargo Cup award recognizes the high schools that achieve the best overall interscholastic athletic performance within each of the state’s four competitive classifications. The Conference Cup is awarded to schools with the best overall interscholastic athletic performance in each individual conference.In most conferences, points are awarded based on participation and standings in conference play. Each conference determines its own method of awarding points.

In the Cap Eight 4A conference, first place still belongs to Millbrook with 80 points after the winter season, based on top finishes in boys basketball, girls basketball, and gymnastics.

Leesville Road, which has 67.5, is just ahead of Broughton (66) for second place, moving up from its previous third-place position. Leesville Road finished second in both men’s and women’s swimming while Broughton finished second in boys and girls basketball.

Cardinal Gibbons is now in second place in the Carolina 3A after a remarkable winter season by Chapel Hill (54) which won championships in boys and girls basketball, and second-place finishes in wrestling and girls swimming. Cardinal Gibbons (53) finished second in both girls basketball and boys swimming. Orange remains in third, capturing a championship in wrestling.

Athens Drive (50.6) is ranked seventh in the Tri-Nine 4A conference. Southeast Raleigh (127.5) is also seventh in the Greater Neuse River 4A conference.

Carolina Challenge: Several area basketball players participated in the sixth annual Dave Telep’s Carolina Challenge at Ravenscroft on Saturday. Ravenscroft guard Anton Gill averaged 15 points in the three games he played, the highest for a Triangle player.

Apex’s T.J. Evans averaged 13 points in his three games. Josh Newkirk of Word of God scored 20 point in his second game, which was the highest single-game total for a Triangle player. Broughton’s James Hemphill and Devonte Graham averaged 10 and nine points respectively.