Playing in the NCHSAA 2A baseball state finals for the first time since 1982, South Granville moved one step closer to bringing home a state championship by defeating Randleman 9-2 in Game 1 of the best-of-3 series Friday at N.C. State’s Doak Field.
South Granville can clinch a championship with a victory in Game 2 Saturday afternoon or with a win in a potential Game 3 Saturday evening.
“It’s truly awesome,” South Granville catcher Ty Adcock said about the possibility of winning a state championship. “I honestly didn’t think I was going to be in this position as the season started, but as the season went on, I started thinking ‘Hey, we might have a chance.’ We just started winning games. It’s just an awesome experience.”
Despite falling behind 1-0 early on, the Vikings exploded for five runs in the third inning and never looked back, as they were able to get to Randleman senior pitcher Tanner Routh, while taking advantage of three fielding errors by the Tiger defense.
All season long, South Granville has enjoyed strong pitching performances, and Friday was no different.
Making his first start of the year, South Granville sophomore Clay Walters surrendered only one run in three innings. He earned the win.
Tested at times, Walters pitched particularly well when Randleman had runners in scoring position and worked out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning after the Tigers had taken a 1-0 lead.
Vikings coach Curt Watkins was pleased with the way his young pitcher performed in a big-game setting.
“For him to hold it together, with him being just 16 years old, it says a lot,” Watkins said.
After Walters’ day was over, junior Justin Brown came in and gave up only one run in four innings of relief.
After struggling to manufacture any sort of offense in the first two innings, South Granville batted around in the third frame and a double by Adcock gave South Granville its first lead of the night.
The Vikings were in full control the rest of the way, and Randleman wouldn’t score another run until the seventh inning.
For Watkins, it’s a great feeling knowing his team can claim a state championship on Saturday. He’ll also sleep well knowing sophomore Justin Bullock – his ace – is available to pitch.
“I feel real comfortable tomorrow going into the game,” Watkins said.