North Raleigh: Sports

Leesville Road baseball topples No. 1 Southeast Guilford

Andrew Papp tossed a complete game, punctuated by a pair of strikeouts in the seventh inning, as Leesville Road upset Southeast Guilford 5-2 Tuesday night in a N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A third round playoff game.

Papp, who also had a pair of hits, was magnificent in allowing just five hits while fanning five batters in the Pride’s 16th straight victory. Jakob Arnold snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth with a suicide squeeze bunt that scored Dillon Cooper and Derrick Barnes added an RBI single for a two-run lead.

Ryan Sande ripped a triple in the seventh and scored on Tommy Perrin’s single in the next at-bat for an insurance run for the Pride (17-8) who will host Millbrook in the fourth round. Southeast Guilford finished its season 22-6 after having a 13-game winning streak snapped.

The turnaround for coach Guy Civitello’s team has been nothing short of remarkable after dropping eight of its first nine contests, but this humble and hard working bunch won’t pat themselves on the back just yet.

The Pride rightfully took some pride in their latest impressive road win.

“They’re excited about moving on to the next round,” Civitello said. “I told them to enjoy this too.”

Leesville Road has a workmanlike approach to the game, taking a 2-0 lead on three walks and a fielders’ choice in the opening inning and tacking on an unearned run in the second frame. The Pride didn’t panic when the Falcons strung together three hits, including an RBI double in the third to tie the score at 2-2, they just got back to work.

They followed Papp’s lead as he settled down in allowing just a single in the fourth inning and pitching out of trouble in the fifth with a huge strikeout that ended the home team’s best chance for a comeback.

“He’s mentally tough and a big stud on the mound for us,” Civitello marveled. “Andrew did a great job for us.”

Papp wouldn’t take all the credit for the impressive performance, however.

“I try to stay humble and I know I couldn’t have done this without my teammates’ help,” Papp said.

He was correct, as shortstop Dillon Cooper made a terrific diving stab of a line drive to end the contest.

“That was an unbelievable play.” Papp said. “If we keep playing the way we are we have reason to be confident going forward.”