NEWTON – If it’s a Catawba County Easter Baseball Classic title game and the ball is in the hands of Hickory High’s Pierson Hanvey, polish up the trophy for the Red Tornadoes.
Hanvey — whose pitching sparked Hickory when he won tournament MVP in 2017 — repeated that on Wednesday night in a 9-3 victory over top-seeded Alexander Central at the Legion Fairgrounds.
The sixth-seeded Red Tornadoes (9-6) stopped the Cougars’ win streak at 10 games to win their seventh title in the 28-history of the Classic, and they are the first back-to-back champions since Bunker Hill in 2010-11.
Hanvey, a senior right-hander, struck out six in Wednesday’s victory at Henkel-Alley Field. He retired 15 of 17 Cougars over the final five innings.
Alexander Central had an early 3-0 lead that Hickory wiped away with a three-run third inning.
Justin Cook’s sacrifice fly gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead and run-scoring hits by Jeremy Hubbard and Bryon Younts put Alexander Central in front 3-0.
Hickory scored six runs in the third inning, the first three via an RBI double by Bryce Stober and run-scoring singles by Macory Mitchell and Brody Scarborough.
Hanvey’s single drove in a run for a 4-3 lead and he was pitching with a 6-3 lead after a two-run single by Jacob Surbaugh, as the Red Tornadoes scores all six runs with two outs.
Hanvey threw a complete game, allowing four hits, three runs (all earned) with one walk and six strikeouts.
Cougars starter Bryson Hammer (4-1) took the loss, going 2 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits, six runs (one earned) with four walks and two strikeouts.
Alexander Central made four errors.
Stober went 3-for-5 and Mitchell, Hanvey and Surbaugh each added two hits for Hickory. Hanvey and Surbaugh each drove in two runs.
Hanvey was again named the tournament MVP, adding to last year’s award when the Red Tornadoes nipped St. Stephens 2-1, a game in which Hanvey had a run-scoring sacrifice fly to tie it at 1.
After Hickory went in front late, Hanvey slammed the door on the Indians in the final inning.
Notes: Hickory has finished in the Top 3 of the Classic 19 times in 28 years, tops among all teams, with Bunker Hill next with 15 times and Alexander Central next with 14 … The Red Tornadoes are tied with Alexander Central for most Classic titles now with seven … Alexander Central has finished second in six Classics, tying Hickory most … Bunker Hill has now finished third seven times, which is a tournament-best… Next year, Hickory will have a chance to become only the second team to win the Classic three straight years (Alexander Central 2003-05) … HHS head coach David Craft picked up career win No. 459 in Wednesday’s title game (30th season) and his 439th as head coach at his alma mater (28th season).