LINCOLNTON – West Lincoln High solidly snapped North Lincoln’s nine-game baseball win streak on Thursday night, winning 9-0 at home to stay alive in the state 2A playoffs.
The 13th-seeded Rebels, facing a must-win situation, rolled to their fifth shutout of the season to force a deciding game on Friday at 7 p.m. at North Lincoln in the West 2A best-of-3 series.
West Lincoln (22-9) or second-seeded North Lincoln (23-6) will advance to next week’s best-of-3 state title series against East 2A champion Randleman (27-4).
Randleman, a No. 11 seed, completed a sweep of No. 4 Washington on Thursday by winning 10-0 at Washington. Tuesday’s opening game win of 4-2 was played at Randleman.
The Rebels rode a complete game by Seth Willis and a three-hit game by Dylan Smith to a win over the Knights, whose last loss was April 22 against Combine Academy.
Smith had a double and drove in three runs and Bobby Beam, Chris Moxley and Brett Mason each added two hits and two RBIs for West Lincoln.
The Rebels scored five runs in the first inning against sophomore Seth Whitley, who came into the game at 7-2 with an ERA of 0.71.
Willis checked the Knights on four hits, walking one and striking out six.
It was just the third time this season North Lincoln failed to score; the others were March 7 at Bandys (0-2) and March 12 at West Lincoln (0-3).
The best-of-3 title series dates will be announced by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and it will be played in Zebulon or