Bandys runs baseball win streak to 6, takes league lead;
St. Stephens’ Lail holds Statesville hitless in softball
By CHRIS HOBBS
Big hits win big games, and Caleb Williams of Alexander Central High delivered one on Tuesday night.
Williams — a junior outfielder batting third in the Cougars’ lineup — smacked a three-run, walk-off home run in the eighth inning to lift Alexander Central past visiting South Caldwell 6-4 in Northwestern 3A-4A baseball.
It was the second home run of the season for Williams, who is hitting .395, and left the Cougars (10-1, 2-1) tied for first place with Freedom, Hibriten and Watauga.
South Caldwell dropped to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
The game featured two of the sport’s top coaches, each nearing 500 career wins. Unofficially, Alexander Central head coach Pete Hardee and South Caldwell’s Jeff Parham have coached in 1,446 prep games. Hardee has 458 career wins and Parham has 436.
In Tuesday’s battle, the Cougars grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second inning with three runs before the Spartans scored a run in the third inning and two in the fourth inning for a 3-all tie.
The battle went to extra innings and South Caldwell scored a run in the top of the eighth inning for a 4-3 lead that Williams’ blast wiped out.
Alexander Central won despite being outhit 8-5 with Mason Chapman collecting two and J.D. Little driving in two runs and Levi Brown driving in one.
Eaton King led South Caldwell with two hits and walked twice and Elias Morales also had two hits.
Reliever Maddox Jack gained a win by Williams’ home run. He pitched two innings, allowing one hit, one run (unearned) with no walks and two strikeouts. Cade Miller started for the Cougars, going six innings. He gave up seven hits, three runs (one earned), walked three and struck out seven.
King took a loss in a relief role, working 1 1/3 innings and allowing two hits, three runs (two earned) with no walks and one strikeout. Morales started for the Spartans and gave up three hits, three runs (all earned) with one walk and five strikeouts.
Alexander Central plays a non-league game on Thursday (6:30 p.m.) at St. Stephens while South Caldwell goes to Ashe County on Friday (6:30 p.m.) for a conference game.
Bandys 10, Bunker Hill 2
The Trojans (9-3, 6-1) ran their win streak to six and — coupled with Lincolnton’s win at West Lincoln — moved into first place alone in the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic.
Cade Spencer threw six innings, allowing eight hits, three runs (all earned) while walking one and striking out nine for the Trojans.
Parker DeHart had three hits, Zach Barnett doubled and had three RBIs and Parker Stybroski and Alex Robinson each drove in two runs for Bandys, which hit double-digit runs for the sixth straight game.
The Trojans have outscored opponents 73-5 during their hot streak.
Bunker Hill dropped to 3-7 overall and 3-4 in the CVAC 2A after giving up 10 or more runs for the fifth time this season.
Bandys has an opportunity to strengthen its lead on Friday when it plays at West Lincoln (7 p.m.). If the Trojans win, they will be two games up on the Rebels and will have swept them. Lincolnton is also a game back of Bandys but the Trojans have already beaten the Wolves (12-2) and will face them at Bandys on April 8.
Bunker Hill’s next game is Wednesday (7 p.m.) at Hickory, and the Bears are at home Friday (7 p.m.) against Lincolnton.
Fred T. Foard 9 Hickory 8
Josh Swink and Blake Powell each drove in two runs and Kylan Bolick added two hits and two RBIs as the visiting Tigers (7-2, 5-1) won a Western Foothills 3A game.
The win left Foard tied for second in the league with North Lincoln while Hickory dropped to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
Foard used five pitchers with Stewart Simmons netting a win. He pitched two innings, allowed one hit and no runs, walked three and struck out five.
Henry Stewart had two of Hickory’s five hits and Blake Kiser drove in two runs and Izaiah McDowell had three RBIs for the Red Tornadoes.
Starter Will Banks took a loss for HHS after he went 2 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, three runs (all earned) walking four and striking out four.
Hickory led early, scoring three runs in the first inning before Foard got three in the third inning for a 3-3 tie.
Foard went up 6-3 with three runs in the fourth inning and by five runs with two in the fifth inning.
The Red Tornadoes scored four runs in the sixth inning, closing within 8-7, and the Tigers got a run in the seventh to go up by two runs. Hickory scored a run in its final at-bat.
The victory is the first one-run game of the year for Foard, which got head coach Channon Vogel his 163rd career win.
Foard’s non-league game scheduled Wednesday at Maiden has been cancelled. The Tigers face St. Stephens at Foard in a conference game on Friday (6:30 p.m.).
Hickory has a non-conference home game on Wednesday against Bunker Hill (7 p.m.) and a conference game Friday (6:30 p.m.) at home against Statesville.
St. Stephens 21, Statesville 0, 5 inn.
The top four batters in the Indians’ lineup went 10-for-16 with eight RBIs in a Western Foothills 3A home victory.
Elec Marvin was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, James Tate went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, Julien Peissell was 3-for-4 with two doubles and drove in three runs and Silas Icenhour went 1-for-2 with an RBI for St. Stephens.
The Indians (10-0, 6-0) lead the conference. Their 21 runs is a season high.
Noah Owens and James Parlier had the Greyhounds’ hits.
Statesville (0-9, 0-5) has lost 42 straight games and 57 of its last 58.
Logan Mullins went four innings for the Indians, gaining a win after allowing no runs, walking one and striking out three.
Easton Walker lasted 1 2/3 innings and took a loss for the Greyhounds. He allowed 10 hits, 13 runs (eight earned), walked four and struck out one.
St. Stephens is at home on Thursday (6:30 p.m.) for a non-league game against Alexander Central and plays at Foard on Friday (6:30 p.m.) in a key conference game (Foard and North Lincoln are one game back of the Indians).
Statesville has a non-conference game at Winston-Salem Atkins on Thursday (6 p.m.) and a league game on Friday (6:30 p.m.) at Hickory.
East Burke 21, West Caldwell 4
The Cavs erased a two-run deficit with two runs in the third inning and had four runs in the fourth inning to lead 6-3 in a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic game at West Caldwell.
East Burke (4-5, 4-3) scored four runs in the fifth inning.
West Caldwell (1-12, 0-7) had just snapped a 33-game losing streak on Monday with a victory over Avery County.
Against the Cavs, Ashton Minton had two hits and Jace Bumgarner drove in two runs for the Warriors.
Bumgarner took a loss, going four innings. He allowed 11 hits, 11 runs (10 earned), walked three and struck out six.
East Burke goes to Maiden (7 p.m.) on Friday for a league game, and the Warriors play a league game (7 p.m.) on Friday at Newton-Conover.
Maiden 8, Newton-Conover 5
Ethan Hedgepeth went 3-for-3, driving in a run and scoring three, to lead the Blue Devils (5-6, 4-3) to a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic win at Maiden.
Tyler Hedgepeth gained a win for the Blue Devils, working four innings. He gave up three earned runs and struck out five. Seth Williams went three innings for Maiden, allowing no earned runs and striking out five.
The Blue Devils, now 20-11 since Dustin Hull became head coach, have won two straight games for the first time this season. Their non-league home game on Wednesday against Fred T. Foard has been cancelled, and they will play East Burke at Maiden on Friday (7 p.m.) in a conference game.
The Red Devils (3-7, 1-6) have dropped six straight games and will be at home Friday (7 p.m.) for a conference game against West Caldwell.
Lincolnton 7, West Lincoln 3
The Wolves (6-5, 5-2) snapped a two-game losing streak with a road win that knocked West Lincoln out of its share of the league lead.
Lincolnton won its 10th game since Brad Gates took over as head coach (10-15) and is tied with West Lincoln for second place, both one game back of Bandys.
The Wolves have a non-league home game Wednesday (7 p.m.) against West Iredell and go to Bunker Hill on Friday (7 p.m.) for a conference game.
The Rebels 2-3 at home this season, play North Lincoln in a non-league game Wednesday (7 p.m.) before facing Bandys on Friday (7 p.m.) at West Lincoln.
East Lincoln 12, North Iredell 5
Graham Smiley and Isaac Armstrong hit home runs as the Mustangs (7-2, 4-2) won a Western Foothills 3A game on the road.
Smiley had three hits and five RBIs, hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning, and Armstrong had two hits and his two-run home run came in the fourth inning.
Garrett Michel went 3-for-4 for East Lincoln, driving in two runs, scoring two runs and stealing two bases. Nathan Borchardt added two hits and Evan Matile drove in a run for the Mustangs.
Seth Haigler worked 2 1/3 innings and gained a win. He allowed two hits, no runs and struck out four.
Logan Palmer took a loss for the Raiders (3-6, 0-5), going 4 2/3 innings and allowing five hits, five unearned runs and striking out six.
East Lincoln is in third place in the conference behind St. Stephens, Fred T. Foard and North Lincoln.
The Mustangs are at North Lincoln on Friday (6:30 p.m.) for a league game, and the Raiders have a non-league games at West Wilkes (7 p.m.) on Wednesday.
North Lincoln 18, West Iredell 1
An eight-run fourth inning sparked the Knights’ road win in the Western Foothills 3A.
North Lincoln (8-1, 5-1) shares second place with Fred T. Foard. The Knights broke a 1-all tie with four runs in the second inning and added three in the third to lead 8-1.
Matt Heaver went 4-for-5 with two doubles and drove in four runs, Maddux Walker went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Jack Wuerderman and Reese Moody each added two hits for North Lincoln.
Winning pitcher Bobby Ellis worked three innings, allowing one hit and a run (earned) with two walks and six strikeouts.
Cade Gaither took a loss for the Warriors (2-8, 1-5). He gave up three hits, five runs (four earned), walked two and struck out none.
West Iredell had two hits, both by Eli Josey, and North Lincoln collected 16 hits.
North Lincoln plays a non-league game on Wednesday (7 p.m.) at West Lincoln and battles East Lincoln on Friday (7 p.m.) at North Lincoln.
West Iredell plays at Lincolnton on Wednesday (7 p.m.) in a non=league game and goes to North Iredell for a league game (7 p.m.) on Friday.
Hibriten 5, Watauga 4
The Panthers (8-4, 2-1) knocked the visiting Pioneers (7-3, 2-1) out of sole possession of first place in the Northwestern 3A-4A, ending Watauga’s seven-game win streak.
Hibriten shares first place with Alexander Central, Freedom and Watauga.
Jake Absher had two hits, one a home run, and drove in two runs for the Panthers. Palmer Tucker and Connor Woodward each added two hits and Cameron Hodges drove in two runs for Hibriten.
Woodward got a win, going four innings. He gave up one run (earned), walked five and struck out eight.
Hibriten led 2-0 after an inning and led 4-1 after scoring twice in the third inning. Watauga scored three runs in the seventh inning.
The Panthers play a league game on Friday (6:30 p.m.) at Alexander Central.
Watauga faces A.C. Reynolds in Boone on Wednesday (5 p.m.) and goes to Freedom on Friday (6:30 p.m.) for a conference game.
Freedom 16, Ashe County 5
The Patriots (5-6, 2-1) scored double digits for the second this season, winning on the road to move into a share of the Northwestern 3A-4A lead with Alexander Central, Hibriten and Watauga.
Freedom, 2-2 on the road this season, plays a non-league game at R-S Central on Thursday and is at home Friday (6:30 p.m.) against Watauga.
Ashe County has lost five straight games heading into a game at North Surry (5:30 p.m.) on Wednesday. The Huskies are at home Friday (6:30 p.m.) in a conference game against South Caldwell.
Madison 5, Draughn 4
Madison scored twice in the sixth inning and a run in the seventh inning to stop visiting Draughn’s seven-game win streak in a Western Highlands 1A-2A game.
Logan McGee had two hits and an RBI, Thomas Lembert drove in a run and Kelton Mitchell added two RBIs for the Wildcats (8-3, 3-1), who went on a hot streak after a one-run loss to Burns.
Tate Jensen took a loss in relief, going two innings. He gave up no hits, one run (earned) with one walk and one strikeout. Draughn starter Trey Jensen worked six innings, allowing six hits, four runs (three earned) with three walks and four strikeouts.
The Wildcats, 1-2 in 1-run games this season, play at Rosman (4 p.m.) in a league game Friday.
Brevard 13, Patton 2
Brevard scored four runs in the first inning, two in the second and five in the fourth inning for an 11-2 lead in a Mountain Athletic 7 2A game at Patton.
Kaeden Clark had two hits and drove in three runs to lead Brevard with Zach Wilson and Lawson Powell each adding two hits and Wilson driving in two runs.
Brayden Pearson had three hits and an RBI for Patton (3-6, 0-4), which lost its fourth straight game.
The Panthers play at Brevard on Friday (7 p.m.).
Alexander Central 5, South Caldwell 4
The host Cougars (12-0, 3-0) held off a seventh-inning rally by the Spartans (5-1, 2-1) to take over the Northwestern 3A-4A lead.
South Caldwell had six hits – two each by Kennedy Crouch and Finley Young – and the Cougars had seven hits, including two each by Faith Carrigan and Abby Teague.
Crouch, Liz Jarden and Sydnee Bumgarner each drove in a run for the Spartans, and Teague had two and Kenzie Church and Anna Jordan each had one for Alexander Central.
Carrigan (11-0) went seven innings, giving up six hits, four runs (three earned) with four walks and eight strikeouts.
Kadie Beck took a loss for South Caldwell, pitching six innings. She allowed seven hits, five runs (three earned), walked none and struck out four.
Alexander Central led 2-0 through two innings and 2-1 heading into the sixth inning. The Spartans tied it at 2 with a run in the sixth inning before the Cougars scored three runs for a 5-2 lead.
South Caldwell scored twice in the seventh inning.
The Cougars share the league lead with Hibriten, and they face the Panthers on Friday (6:30 p.m.) in Taylorsville.
South Caldwell meets Hickory in a non-league game Wednesday (5 p.m.) and will play Ashe County at South Caldwell on Friday (6:30 p.m.) in a league game.
Bandys 11, Bunker Hill 1
A big first inning carried the Trojans (10-2, 7-0) to a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic win at home and kept them atop the league.
Bandys scored seven runs with hits by Riley Fox, Avery Alexander, Owen Lyall and Annie Andrews.
Freshman Jessie Sipe added two hits and Alexander, a freshman, drove in two runs.
Laura Drum pitched five innings to gain a win, allowing three hits, one run, walking one and striking out five.
The Trojans play a non-league game at home Wednesday (6 p.m.) against Fred T. Foard and must win on Friday (6 p.m.) at West Lincoln to stay in first place.
The Bears, 1-6 in the conference, face Lincolnton on Friday (6 p.m.) in a league game in Claremont.
East Lincoln 10, North Iredell 0
Betsy Eatmon had three hits and drove in three runs, leading the Mustangs (6-0 in Western Foothills 3A) to a win in Olin.
Taniyah Thomas had a double and scored four runs and Tailya Thomas added three RBIs for East Lincoln, atop the league by one game over North Lincoln and St. Stephens.
Leah Carroll improved to 9-0 with a pitching win.
North Iredell dropped to 1-5 in the conference.
East Lincoln has a non-league road game on Wednesday, facing Hopewell at 6 p.m., and North Iredell plays a non-conference game Wednesday at Lake Norman.
East Burke 3, West Caldwell 1
Kaylee Paige had two hits – a double and home run – and drove in two runs to lead the Cavs to a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic win on the road.
Anna Fortenberry picked up a win for East Burke, going 4 2/3 innings. She allowed three hits, one run, walked three and struck out eight.
The Cavs have a non-league home game on Wednesday (5 p.m.) against Draughn then go to Maiden on Friday (6 p.m.) for a conference game.
West Caldwell, 1-4 in the CVAC 2A, plays a non-league game at home Wednesday (5 p.m.) against Patton and a league game on Friday (5 p.m.) at Newton-Conover.
West Lincoln 15, Lincolnton 2
Farrah Richardson led the Rebels, 6-1 in the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic, with two hits (triple) and three RBIs.
Addisyn Robinson added two hits and drove in two runs, Etta Godfrey had two hits and Amelia May added two RBIs for West Lincoln, in second place in the league behind Bandys.
Karie Williams and Brooklyn Johnson drove in a run each for the Wolves (1-4 CVAC 2A) and Johnson had two hits.
Tanlee Eloy took a loss for Lincolnton, going five innings. She allowed 11 hits, 15 runs (four earned), walked five and struck out one.
West Lincoln battles Bandys on Friday at 6 p.m. at West Lincoln.
Lincolnton plays a league game at Bunker Hill on Friday at 6 p.m.
Fred T. Foard 10, Hickory 0
The Tigers had 19 hits and rolled past the host Red Tornadoes in a Western Foothills 3A game.
Riley Vogel went 4-for-4, scored three runs and drove in two runs to spark Foard, 4-2 in the conference. Aly Punch was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Katilyn Leonhardt added two hits and drove in three runs for the Tigers.
Gabby Sutcliffe, Sarah Leonhardt and Alysaa Smith each provided two hits for Foard and Smith had an RBI.
Smith pitched a complete game, allowing three hits and no runs, walking two and striking out 14 for Foard.
Carlee Logan took the loss for Hickory (1-5 in league), working 4 2/3 innngs. She gave up seven hits, five runs (all earned), walked three and struck out two.
Foard has a non-league game Wednesday (6 p.m.) at Bandys while Hickory plays a non-conference game on Wednesday at South Caldwell (5 p.m.).
Maiden 17, Newton-Conover 1
Tristan Smalling pitched the Blue Devils to a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic victory on the road.
Maiden, 5-2 in the league, is in third place and plays a league home game Friday (6 p.m.) against East Burke.
The Red Devils, who battle West Caldwell on Friday (6 p.m.) in Newton, are 0-4 in the league.
St. Stephens 19, Statesville 0, 5 inn.
Mayson Lail had two hits and three RBIs and no-hit the visiting Greyhounds in a Western Foothills 3A game.
Lail struck out 12 as the Indians improved to 5-1 in league play. They share second place with North Lincoln, both a game back of East Lincoln.
Anicka McFarland drove in three runs and Ashlyn Fincher had two hits and two RBIs and Lacey Scott added two hits for St. Stephens.
The Indians had 14 hits and Statesville, 0-6 in the league, made six errors.
St. Stephens plays a league game at Fred T. Foard on Friday (6 p.m.) and the Greyhounds play a conference game on Friday (4 p.m.) at Hickory.
Hibriten 9, Watauga 1
The Panthers won at home, improving to 2-0 in the Northwestern 3A-4A to share first place with Alexander Central.
Watauga is 0-2 in the league.
The Panthers are at Alexander Central on Friday (6:30 p.m.) while the Pioneers have a home non-league game Wednesday (5 p.m.) against West Wilkes and go to Freedom on Friday for a conference game.
North Lincoln 16, West Iredell 0
The Knights scored five runs in the first inning and six in the second en route to a Western Foothills 3A road win.
Kennedy King had the only hit for West Iredell, 2-4 in the league, and Kaylee Chapman took a loss (four innngs, eight hits, nine runs, six walks, no strikeouts).
North Lincoln is 5-1 in the conference and is at home Friday (6:30 p.m.) against league-leading East Lincoln.
West Iredell faces North Iredell on the road Friday in a conference game.
Ashe County 10, Freedom 5
The Huskies wiped out a three run lead by Freedom, scoring si in the fifth to go ahead 8-4 in a Northwestern 3A-4A game at Ashe County.
Freshman Ally Greer drove in four runs for the Huskies, 1-1 in the league, with Hannah Osborne and Nadilyn Easton each adding two hits and Gwenyth Wood driving in two runs.
Freedom freshman Daniell Robinson went 4-for-4 and Jasmine Webb was 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.
The Patriots are 0-2 in the conference.
Ashe County goes to South Caldwell for a league game Friday (6:30 p.m.), and Freedom plays at home against Burns in a non-league game Wednesday (5 p.m.) before entertaining Watauga on Friday (6;30 p.m.) in a conference game.
Madison 5, Draughn 3
Emma Chandler went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead Madison to a Western Highlands 1A-2A home win.
Jocelyn Bradley went six innings for Madison, allowing eight hits, three runs (all earned) with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Brevard 7, Patton 6
Brevard had a four-run first inning and was up 6-2 after scoring two runs in the fourth inning in a Mountain Athletic 7 2A game at Patton.
Kara Redwine, Katie Lail and Cierra Lail each had two hits for the Panthers, who had 12 hits.
Marleigh Carswell took a loss. She started for Patton and went four innings, allowing seven hits, six runs (five earned) with no walks and two strikeouts.
Patton has a non-league game at West Caldwell on Wednesday (5 p.m.) and goes to Brevard for a league game on Friday (5:30 p.m.).
Maiden 3, West Caldwell 0
Bella DeMartino scored twice and Emma Shokes had five saves, leading the Blue Devils to a Catawba Valley 2A win in Lenoir.
Liz Mroz added one goal and an assist and Vanessa Cespedes had two assists for Maiden, 3-0-0 in the league and in first place.
The Blue Devils face Bandys in a conference match on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.) at Maiden.
West Caldwell, 0-2-0 in the league, is at home Thursday (5 p.m.) for a conference battle with Lincolnton.
Hickory 5, Fred T. Foard 0
Madeline Mosteller scored twice, helping Hickory win a Western Foothills 3A match at home.
Litzy Hernandez, Mia Zuleta and Jayden Fralick each added a goal for the Red Tornadoes, who had 20 shots on goal.
Alexis Woglemuth had 15 save for the Tigers.
Hickory, 4-0-0 in the league and in first place, by a half-match over East Lincoln, plays a league match on Friday (6 p.m.) against Statesville at HHS.
Foard, 1-2-1 in the conference, will play St. Stephens in a league match on Friday (5:30 p.m.) at Foard.
Bandys wins at Glen Oaks
Bandys shot a 324, highlighted by a 71 from Atley Gabriel, to win a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic match at Glen Oaks in Maiden.
The Trojans finished nine strokes better than second-place East Burke, which got a round of 77 from Sam Mace.
Bandys’ other scores were 81 by Sam Harwell, 83 by Chase Barnette, 89 by Jacob Mosteller and 106 by Owen Little.
Other rounds in the 70s were a 74 by Hatley Hicks of Newton-Conover, a 76 by Maiden’s Korbyn Lawing and a 77 by West Lincoln’s Lawson Harkey.
Top 10 individuals: 1. Atley Gabriel (B) 71; 2. Hatley Hicks (N-C) 74; 3. Korby Lawing (M) 76; 4. Sam Mace (EB), Lawson Harkey (WL) 77; 6. Sam Harwell (B) 81; 7. Chase Barnette (B) 83; 8. Nicholas Newton (EB) 84; 9. Peyton Smith (EB), Eli Carico (EB) 86.
Top 10 individuals through four league matches: 1. Atley Gabriel (B) 185; 2. Sam Mace (EB), Lawson Harkey (WL) 191; 4. Hatley Hicks (N-C) 199; 5. Sam Harwell (B0 206; 7. Korbyn Lawing (M) 207; 8. Mason Nolley (M) 222; 9. Luke Wilkinson (N-C) 225; 10. Peyton Smith (EB), Chase Barnette (B) 226.
Contributing to this article: Jonathan Watts, Alexander Central SID; Lindsay Presnell, Maiden soccer; Dustin Hull, Maiden baseball; Chris Matile, E. Lincoln baseball; David Craft, Hickory baseball; Jan Davis, St. Stephens softball; Hugh McCall, Maiden softball; Camryn Partin, Fred T. Foard soccer; John Eckard, CVAC 2A golf; Jimmy Bowman, St. Stephens baseball.