Burke County, Caldwell County advance;
second round series start Friday night
By CHRIS HOBBS
NEWTON – The Gaston Braves completed a Game 3 victory over Hickory on Wednesday night, winning 6-5 in nine innings to complete a first-round sweep in Area IV American Legion playoff baseball.
Gaston, the East No. 2 seed, led the game 5-4 when it was suspended in the fifth inning on Tuesday night at South Point High.
Hickory, the West No. 7 seed, scored a run when played resumed on Wednesday in Newton, and it went to extra innings tied at 5-all before the Braves (15-3) scored in the ninth inning to close a best-of-5 series.
Gaston won Game 1 by 11-4 on Saturday and Game 2 was delayed by rain by a day, with the Braves winning 8-7 in Hickory on Monday to set up the potential for a sweep.
Hickory — losing five straight and eight of its last nine — finished 6-15 under head coach Allen Sigmon.
The Braves advance to a best-of-5 second round series against West No. 3 Cleveland County (15-12, first round bye) that begins Friday (7 p.m.) at South Point High.
In the final battle with Gaston, Hickory had nine hits that included two each by Isaiah McDowell (Hickory), Silas Isenhour (St. Stephens) and Justin Skewes (St. Stephens). Skewes drove in two runs and McDowell hit a home run.
Gaston had seven hits, led by two each by Gavin Houser, Julian Hall and Daniel McClellan, and Riley Hawkins drove in three runs.
Gaston starter Liam Bradey worked three innings, giving up four hits, four runs (two earned), walking three and striking out four. Reliever Sam Carpenter pitched six innings, allowing five hits, one run (earned) with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Elijah Miller (Maiden) started for Post 48, pitching four innings. He gave up six hits, five runs (four earned), walked two and struck out one. McDowell threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing one hit, one run (unearned) with four walks and two strikeouts.
Post 48 finished 4-7 at home – beating Statesville twice and Henderson County and Caldwell County – and went 2-8 away with wins over Asheville (by forfeit) and Gastonia.
Hickory went 1-3 in one-run games, beating Asheville 1-0 by forfeit and falling 6-5 to Henderson County and 8-7 and 6-5 to the Gaston Braves.
In other Area IV first-round series:
- Matthews, the East No. 4 seed ousted West No. 5 Henderson County three games to one, winning 6-5 and 5-4 on Wednesday to advance to a second-round series against West No. 1 Cherryville (17-9, first round bye). The series begins Friday in Cherryville.
- Caldwell County, the West No. 4 seed, completed a sweep of East No. 5 Mint Hill by winning 13-7 on Monday. Post 29 faces East No. 1 Queen City (13-1, first round bye) in the second round. The series begins Friday at Queen City.
- West No. 6 Burke County won 9-6 on Tuesday and 13-8 on Wednesday to win a series against East No. 3 Gastonia, three games to two. Burke County now plays West No. 2 Rutherford County (14-3, first round bye). The series starts Friday at Rutherford County.
HICKORY POST 48 SCHEDULE, RESULTS
Asheville L, 10-13
Statesville W, 6-0
at Asheville, ppd., June 25
at Caldwell County L, 5-9
at Burke County L, 1-7
at Gastonia W, 9-5
Cherryville, L 3-18
Mooresville, ppd., no date
at Rowan County, L. 1-7
at Cleveland County, L 2-5
Statesville W, 11-8
Henderson County, W, 5-0/L, 5-6
Caldwell County, W 4-2
Cherryville, L 2-8
Cleveland County, L-2-5
at Rutherford County, L 2-10
at Asheville, W 1-0 (forfeit)
Burke County, L 0-4
Rutherford County, L 3-15
at Gaston Braves, L 4-11
Gaston Braves, L 7-8
Gaston Braves, L 5-6
AREA IV PLAYOFFS
FIRST ROUND (Best-of-5)
(All games 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
West No. 1 Cherryville (17-9, 12-2)
West No. 2 Rutherford County (14-3, 12-2)
West No. 3 Cleveland County (15-13, 9-5)
West No. 5 HENDERSON COUNTY (6-10, 6-8)
vs. East No. 4 MATTHEWS (7-11, 6-6)
Game 1, Saturday at Matthews: Matthews 10, Henderson County 7
Game 2, Sunday at Henderson County: Henderson County 4, Matthews 3, 8 inn.
Game 3, Monday at Matthews: Postponed
Game 3, Tuesday at Matthews: Matthews 6, Henderson County 0, suspended, fifth inning
Game 3, completion, at Henderson County: Matthews 6, Henderson County 5
Game 4, Thursday at Henderson County: Matthews 5, Henderson County 4, Matthews wins series 3-1
West No. 8 HICKORY (6-12, 3-11)
vs. East No. 2 GASTON BRAVES (12-3, 10-2)
Game 1, Saturday at South Point High: Gaston Braves 11, Hickory 4
Game 2, Sunday at Hickory (Legion Fairgrounds, Newton): Postponed, rain
Game 2, Monday at Hickory (Legion Fairgrounds, Newton): Gaston Braves 8, Hickory 7
Game 3, Tuesday at South Point High: Gaston Braves 5, Hickory 4, suspended, fifth inning
Game 3, completion at Hickory (Legion Fairgrounds, Newton): Gaston Braves 6, Hickory 5, Gaston Braves win series 3-0
East No. 5 MINT HILL (5-7, 5-7)
vs. West No. 4 CALDWELL COUNTY (8-9, 6-8)
Game 1, Saturday at M.S. Deal Stadium, Granite Falls: Caldwell County 2, Mint Hill 2, fourth inning, suspended
Game 1, completion, Sunday at Mint Hill: Caldwell County 10, Mint Hill 9
Game 2, Sunday at Mint Hill: Caldwell County 4, Mint Hill 3
Game 3, Monday at M.S. Deal Stadium, Granite Falls: Caldwell County 13 Mint Hill 7, Caldwell County wins series 3-0
West No. 6 BURKE COUNTY (6-10, 6-8)
vs. East No. 3 GASTONIA (8-7, 8-4)
Game 1, Saturday at Gastonia: Gastonia 5, Burke County 1
Game 2, Sunday at Shuey Field, Morganton: Burke County 6, Gastonia 5
Game 3, Monday at Gastonia: Gastonia 3, Burke County 2
Game 4: Tuesday at Shuey Field, Morganton: Burke County 9, Gastonia 6
Game 5, Wednesday at Gastonia: Burke County 13, Gastonia 8, Burke County wins series 3-2
SECOND ROUND (Best-of-5, July 8-12)
(All games 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
West No. 1 CHERRYVILLE (17-9)
vs. East No. 4 MATTHEWS (10-12)
Game 1: Friday, July 8 at Cherryville
Game 2: Saturday, July 9 at Matthews
Game 3: Sunday, July 10 at Cherryville
Game 4, if needed: Monday, July 11 at Matthews
Game 5, if needed: Tuesday, July 12 at Cherryville
West No. 3 CLEVELAND COUNTY (15-13) vs.
East No. 2 GASTON BRAVES (15-3)
Game 1: Friday, July 8 at South Point High
Game 2: Saturday, July 9 at Shelby High
Game 3: Sunday, July 10 at South Point High
Game 4, if needed: Monday, July 11 at Shelby High
Game 5, if needed: Tuesday, July 12 at South Point High
East No. 1 QUEEN CITY (13-1) vs.
West No. 4 CALDWELL COUNTY (11-9)
Game 1: Friday, July 8 at Queen City
Game 2: Saturday, July 9 at Caldwell County
Game 3: Sunday, July 10 at Queen City
Game 4, if needed: Monday, July 11 at Caldwell County
Game 5, if needed: Tuesday, July 12 at Queen City
West No. 2 RUTHERFORD COUNTY (14-3)
vs. West No. 6 BURKE-COUNTY (9-12)
Game 1: Friday, July 8 at Rutherford County
Game 2: Saturday, July 9 at Shuey Field, Morganton
Game 3: Sunday, July 10 at Rutherford County
Game 4, if needed: Monday, July 11 at Shuey Field, Morganton
Game 5, if needed: Tuesday, July 12 at Rutherford County
SEMIFINALS (Best-of-7, July 14-20)
Cherryville-Matthews winner vs. Cleveland County-Gaston Braves winner
Queen City-Caldwell County winner vs. Rutherford County-Burke County winner
CHAMPIONSHIP (July 21-23)
Format to be announced