Six seniors at Faith Christian School of Rocky Mount saw their high school baseball careers end in climactic fashion.
The Patriots held off a late rally by Charlotte’s Northside Christian Academy to win their first N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A championship on Saturday, 5-4 in Game 2 of the series. The six have played together since seventh grade.
“We’ve been fighting for this since seventh grade,” starting pitcher Jacob Pridgen said. “For six years, this is all we’ve been dreaming about.”
Faith Christian led 5-2 heading into the seventh and final inning. Northside’s Conor McGee needed just one pitch to slug a home run over the left field wall. After outfielder Tanner White singled, FCS coach Greg Clifton brought in relief pitcher Sam Mills.
Knights second baseman Grant Lovelace made it safely to first on an error, setting up two runners with no outs.
Aaron Jones hit into a double play, but White made it to third. That set up Caleb McCrary’s single, which sent White home and closed the score to 5-4.
Mills threw a fast ball that got Cory Delair to fly out to centerfield to end the game.
The title was especially sweet for Pridgen, who coach Greg Clifton said was in the “doghouse” early in the season.
“He came back and worked his butt off,” said Clifton, whose team hasn’t lost since March 10. “We pitched our No. 1 pitcher on Tuesday knowing that Jake would get it done today if we got here. He really just got out there and battled his butt off for us.”
The Patriots made it a 2-0 sweep after defeating Northside 8-2 on Friday.
Pridgen said that win helped set the mood for Saturday’s matchup.
“Yesterday was really a boost for us because they pitched their No. 1 and we dropped five on them in the first inning, so we were really buoyed for this game and wanted to put it away early,” Pridgen said.