HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Knighton-led Bears remain undefeated

Published Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Lake Norman Charter hands Maiden

head coach his first loss as Blue Devils leader




Senior Casey Knighton doubled and drove in a run and handcuffed visiting Patton over 6 1/3 innings on Tuesday night as Bunker Hill High rolled to another baseball win.

The Bears beat the Panthers 4-1 with Knighton allowing two hits, striking out 12 and walking two.

Bunker Hill (5-0) shares the early lead in the Northwestern Foothills 2A with Fred T. Foard.

Senior Pete Clampitt had two hits and two RBIs and junior Preston Workman also drove in a run and earned a pitching save for the Bears, who have outscored opponents 61-1 this season.

Dating back to their final game of last season, Bunker Hill has outscored teams 67-1.

Patton (4-1) scored a run in the first inning before the Bears’ two-run second inning gave them the lead for good. Bunker Hill then added one run in the third inning and one in the fourth inning.

Junior Brayden Pearson had two hits and junior Brayson Buff had a hit and RBI for the Panthers.

The Bears will take a six-game win streak into Thursday’s (7 p.m.) game at Patton, and they are 21-10 since Todd Setzer became head coach three years ago.

Fred T. Foard 10, East Burke 0, 6 inn.

Lane Essary struck out 10 and limited the visiting Cavs to two hits as the Tigers (5-0) won to tie Bunker Hill for first place in the Northwestern Foothills 2A.

Connor Pechel and Alex Fisher each drove in two runs and Josh Harwell, Kylan Bolick and Logan Mosley each had two hits for Foard, which picked up career win No. 149 for head coach Channon Vogel.

Ben Elkins took the loss for East Burke, working four innings. He gave up four runs on five hits and struck out seven.

East Burke (0-5) suffered its 22nd consecutive loss dating back to the 2019 season. The Cavs have not won since beating Freedom 8-3 on March 20, 2019.

The teams meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at East Burke, and a win by Foard would make Vogel the fifth active head baseball coach in Greater Hickory area conferences with 150 or more career wins.

Hibriten 10, West Iredell 3

Cleveland Earp, a junior leadoff hitter, went 4-for-4 and three others drove in two runs each as the Panthers (4-1) won a Northwestern Foothills 2A game at home.

Sophomore Jake Absher had two hits and one RBI while sophomore Zachary Crowe, junior Cameron Hodges and senior Joseph Estes each had two RBIs for Hibriten.

Senior Jovany Mendez and freshman Eli Josey each had two hits and drove in a run for West Iredell (0-5), which shares sixth place with East Burke and West Caldwell.

Nick Tucker, a senior, was the winning pitcher for the Panthers, going four innings. He allowed five hits, two runs, walked three and struck out eight.

Sophomore Conner Woodward allowed two hits and no earned runs, walked two and struck out five to gain a save for Hibriten.

Mendez took the loss for the Warriors, pitching four innings. He gave up eight runs (four earned) with one walk and four strikeouts.

Panthers head coach Jeff Crisp picked up his 25th career victory (25-10).

The teams play Thursday (7 p.m.) at West Iredell.

Draughn 8, West Caldwell 1

The Wildcats (2-3) scored all of their runs in the fourth inning en route to a Northwestern Foothills 2A win.

Sophomore Tanner Woody drove in three runs, and sophomore Trey Jensen and senior Marshall Byrd each added two doubles for Draughn.

Gabe Strickland, a senior, pitched six innings. He gave up five hits, one run (earned), walked one and struck out 11.

Draughn visits West Caldwell on Thursday for a game at 6 p.m.


Lake Norman Charter 10, Maiden 2

Senior Jared Ryan had two hits, drove in four runs and limited the Blue Devils to one hit over 5 1/3inngs to hand Maiden its first loss of the season and first under Dustin Hull as head coach.

Ryan and sophomore Jacob Dunden (two hits) each doubled and Dunden had two RBIs for the Knights (1-4) in an afternoon South Fork 2A game played at Huntersville Athletic Park.

Ryan walked six and struck out nine, working early with a 2-0 first-inning lead, and Lake Norman Charter scored four runs in the fourth inning.

Dalton James had a hit to lead Maiden, which won its first 10 games under Hull, six last season.

Jacob Cauble allowed five hits and struck out six and took the loss for the Blue Devils.

The teams play again Friday with a 7 p.m. start at Maiden.

East Lincoln 7, North Lincoln 4

The Mustangs (5-0) wiped out a four-run deficit to beat the Knights (4-1) and grab first place in the South Fork 2A with a road win.

North Lincoln led 4-0 until the fifth inning, when East Lincoln scored four runs, and the Mustangs scored three runs in the seventh inning.

Junior Garrett Michel had two hits – one a home run – and drove in four runs and junior Gavin Houser went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs for East Lincoln.

The Mustangs had eight hits and survived making four errors.

Sophomore Isaac Armstrong pitched two innings, allowing one hit and strike out four, and senior Jordan Fisher threw five innings (three hits, four runs, three walks, three strikeouts) for East Lincoln.

North Lincoln had four hits.

The teams play on Friday at 7 p.m. at East Lincoln, and the Mustangs are a game up in the loss column over North Lincoln and Maiden.

East Lincoln has won seven straight games dating back to last season and head coach Chris Matile is unofficially two wins shy of 250 for his career.

Bandys 4, Lincolnton 0

Playing at home, the Trojans (3-2) ran their win streak to three games with a South Fork 2A victory powered by sophomore Caden Spencer.

In addition to driving in a run, Spencer threw a complete game and checked the Wolves (2-3) on four hits. He struck out 11.

Bandys scored one run in the first inning, two in the fourth inning and one in the fifth inning.

Sophomore Nolan Jones had a double and drove in two runs and junior Terick Bumgarner added two doubles for the Trojans.

Bandys had eight hits, pushing Frank Porter to (unofficially) 120-123. He’s in his 13th year as head coach.

The teams play on Friday at 7 p.m. at Lincolnton, which started the season 2-0.

West Lincoln 22, Newton-Conover 4

The Rebels scored the most runs by a team in any of the Greater Hickory area’s three conferences to hammer the host Red Devils in a South Fork 2A game.

West Lincoln improved to 1-4 and is tied with Lake Norman Charter for sixth place while Newton-Conover (0-5) fell into last place.

The Rebels have still been outscored 32-28 by opponents this season but snapped a six-game skid that dated back to last season.

The Red Devils, outscored 67-18 this season, have lost 16 straight games. Their last win was April 4, 2019 over Lincolnton (14-6).

Newton-Conover visits West Lincoln on Friday for a 5 p.m. game.


St. Stephens 10, Hickory 1

Josh Barkley had two hits and drove in three runs and Gavin Marley pitching helped St. Stephens win a Northwestern 3A-4A game on the road and hold onto first place.

Marley threw four innings, allowing two hits and no runs, and walked five and struck out eight as the winning pitcher.

The Indians (4-0), who play Freedom at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Morganton’s Shuey Field, are a half-game up on South Caldwell and McDowell in the league race.

Hickory (2-3, 1-3) was limited to three hits and fell behind 1-0 after one inning and 6-0 after St. Stephens scored five runs in the third inning.

Will Banks started and took the loss for the Red Tornadoes, going two innings. He gave up two hits, six runs (four earned), walked four and struck out two.

Hickory plays at McDowell on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and will pursue head coach David Craft’s 462nd win at HHS and his 482nd career victory.

Craft, a catcher in baseball and a three-sport star at HHS, will coach in his 750th game as HHS’ skipper.

McDowell 7, Freedom 0

Senior Chapel Matson threw a complete game at Morganton’s Shuey Field to lead the Titans to a Northwestern 3A-4A victory.

Matson allowed two hits, walked two and struck out 11 and also had two hits and drove in two runs.

Junior Michael Lewis had two hits and junior Ethan Hensley doubled and drove in two runs for McDowell (4-1, 3-1), tied for second place with South Caldwell.

McDowell scored six runs in the fourth inning.

The Titans are at home Thursday at 6:30 p.m., facing Hickory, and Freedom is back at Shuey on Thursday at 7 p.m. to battle St. Stephens.

Watauga 4, Reidsville 3

The Pioneers (4-2, 2-2) got three hits from sophomore Jacob Dilley and two hits and an RBI each from junior Carson Warren and sophomore Cooper Riddle to win a non-conference game on the road.

Junior Chase Brown added two RBIs for Watauga and Ryan Fox, the third pitcher used by the Pioneers, gained a win (pitched three innings).

Watauga has won three straight games and plays at home on Friday at 6:30 p.m. against South Caldwell.

Cougars-Spartans delayed

Alexander Central’s visit to South Caldwell was delayed until Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

The Cougars are 1-3 in the Northwestern 3A-4A and the Spartans are 3-1.

The game features two 400-game winners as head coaches – Pete Hardee of Alexander Central’s unofficial career win total is 445 and Jeff Parham’s at South Caldwell is at 425.

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