Second-place Alex Central drills Hickory
18-0 as Rhoney posts 4-for-5 night
South Caldwell High won a one-run game for the third time this season, nipping visiting St. Stephens 2-1 on Thursday night to wrap up at least a share of the Northwestern 3A-4A title and the league’s No. 1 state 4A playoff bid.
The Spartans erased a 1-0 deficit with runs on a sacrifice fly by Curtis Massagee and a wild pitch to go up 2-1 through three innings.
The victory left South Caldwell at 16-2 overall and 11-1 in the conference with two league games to go.
It would take a collapse by the Spartans – they play West Caldwell at home on Monday at 6 p.m. and their final league game at Watauga on Wednesday – to open the door for second-place Alexander Central (11-8, 9-3) to share the title.
Alexander Central has league games left against Freedom (Monday in Taylorsville) and St. Stephens (away on Wednesday) to finish up conference play.
The Spartans have already wrapped up the top 4A playoff spot because they’ll finish well ahead of the conference’s other 4A team, McDowell (11-8, 5-7).
South Caldwell goes for its 17th win on Saturday when it plays at home non-league game against Hibriten at 2 p.m.
Alexander Central 18, Hickory 0, 5 inn.
The Cougars cruised to a road win after scoring four runs in the second inning and four in the third inning to open an 11-0 lead.
Leadoff hitter Easton Rhoney went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs, No. 2 hitter Dalton Stikeleather was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and N. 3 hitter Jacob Bebber went 1-for-4 and drove in three runs.
Will Elder had three hits for Alexander Central (11-8, 9-3), which had 20, and Byron Younts and Kade Sith each added two and three RBIs and Seth Sigmon had two hits.
Dawson Elder and Maddox Kerley combined to limit Hickory ( 9-7, 5-7) to five hits, two by Brody Scarborough.
Elder pitched four innings, giving up five hits, no runs, walking one and striking out eight. Kerley struck out two and pitched an inning.
Hickory starter William Stewart worked 1 1/3 innings, taking a loss after he gave up six hits, seven runs (four earned) with one walk and three strikeouts.
Alexander Central is at home on Monday to play Freedom in a league game at 6:30 p.m.
Hickory has a league game Monday at 6:30 p.m. at McDowell.
McDowell 2, Alexander Central 0 (Wednesday)
Brycen Seymore one-hit the host Cougars in a conference game in which there were only three hits.
Seymore went seven innings, walking three and striking out six.
McDowell scored all its runs in the fifth inning.
Seymore and Justin Dula had hits for the Titans (11-7, 5-7), who have won four straight games, and Rhoney had the only hit for the Cougars.
Alexander Central left eight on base and McDowell left five.
Bryson Hammer took the loss for the Cougars, going 4 2/3 innings. He did not allow a hit, gave up two runs (none earned) with seven walks and 10 strikeouts.
McDowell is at home on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in a league game against Hickory.
Alexander Central 18, Hickory 0, 3 inn.
The Cougars had 16 hits – four by leadoff hitter Lanie Goforth – as they rolled past the Red Tornadoes on the road in a conference game.
Goforth went 4-for-4 and drove in four runs while Gracie Rhoney went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and Jasmine Parker added two hits and drove in four runs for the Cougars (14-4, 9-3).
Faith Carrigan (11-3) and Kara Hinkle combined to no-hit Hickory (2-14, 0-11).
Carrigan threw one inning and Hinkle threw two, striking out two.
Karissa Atapovich took the loss for Hickory, giving up 16 hits, 18 runs (nine earned) with six walks and no strikeouts.
Alexander Central plays Freedom on Monday at 6 p.m. in Taylorsville.
Hickory goes to McDowell on Monday at 6 p.m.
Alexander Central 4, McDowell 3 (Wednesday)
The Cougars scored three runs in the seventh inning to win a conference game at home.
Goforth and Ashley Seagle each had two hits for Alexander Central, which had seven, and Dezi Williams and Jada Cannon each had two for McDowell, which also had seven hits.
Seagle drove in two runs for the Cougars, who were down 1-0 through four innings and 3-0 before scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hinkle gained a win in relief, going 1 2/3 innings. She gave up one hit and struck out two. Carrigan threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, three runs (all earned) with one walk and five strikeouts.
Candace Cooper took a loss for the Titans, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up seven hits, four runs (one earned) with one walk and five strikeouts.
McDowell made three errors.
McDowell meets Hickory in Marion on Monday at 6 p.m. in a conference game.
Hickory 9, Alexander Central 0
With three goals by Izzy Wood and two each by Ayden Vaughan and Madeline Mosteller, the Red Tornadoes rolled past the Cougars in a league match at Hickory.
Madeline Pitts and Kara Byrd added one goal each for Hickory (13-2-1, 9-1-0).
Sarah Harding and Taylor Rose combined for a shutout for the Red Tornadoes, who opened a half-match lead over Watauga.
Hickory goes to McDowell for a league match on Monday at 6 p.m., and the Cougars have a home league match at 5 p.m on Monday against Freedom.
St. Stephens 15, Patton 8
The host Indians got six goals each by Dylan McFarland and Nick Yapundich to beat Patton and wrap up no worse than a share of the Conference 16 title.
St. Stephens (9-3, 8-0) will share or win its fifth straight title.
Patton dropped to 7-2, 6-2.
The Indians are at Watauga on Monday night while the Panthers are at Hickory.
Lake Norman 19, St. Stephens 1
The Wildcats (10-4, 5-1) overhelmed the Indians at St. Stephens, scoring five times in the opening five minutes.
St. Stephens dropped to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in league play.
- Information for the roundup includes reports by: Jonathan Watts, Alexander Central SID; Brian Jillings, Hickory girls’ soccer head coach.