In 2014 and 2015, the Green Hope baseball team saw its season end in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs. But this year, the Falcons got over the hump by beating East Wake 1-0 in a rain-shortened five inning game on Thursday to keep their season alive.
Up next for Green Hope is a third round matchup with either Athens Drive or Pine Forest.
In the bottom of the fifth officials called for players and spectators to seek shelter due to lightning. What ensued was a steady thunderstorm that guaranteed an early ending to the contest.
While the circumstances were less than ideal, the Falcons gladly accepted the end result, which was the school’s first second round win since 2013.
“We were there in the fourth round three years ago and it was such a great feeling to make a run like that,” Green Hope coach Michael Miragliuolo said. “So, to get to the third is nice, but you feel for (East Wake) a little bit to have it end that way.”
Two days after Mitch Spence threw a complete game against Garner, N&O No. 4 Green Hope (21-5, 12-4) sent pitcher Chris Joyner, a UNC-Wilmington signee, to the mound and he gave the Falcons another great outing as he struck out six batters in five scoreless innings.
“I was on tonight. It was a good night,” Joyner said. “All my stuff was working and the defense was there, which I was proud of.”
As it would prove, Joyner needed only one run from the Green Hope batters to earn the win and it came in the bottom of the third when shortstop Kohl Abrams scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Sean McQuillan.
Overshadowed by Joyner’s pitching were good performances by East Wake (13-12, 10-4) pitchers Trevor Creech and Justin Torres, who combined to give up only four hits over 4.1 innings of work.
Understandably, East Wake coach Tony Piercy was unhappy to see his team’s season come to an end prematurely due to the weather. The Warriors won 13 of their final 19 games after starting the year off with six consecutive losses.
“It sucks to end your season in a locker room and not on the field” Piercy said.