Southwest Guilford Advances to Third Round of NCHSAA 4-A West Playoffs with 2-1 Victory over Southeast Guilford – Wyatt Smith Reporting
Southwest Guilford Advances to Third Round of NCHSAA 4-A West Playoffs with 2-1 Victory over Southeast Guilford
The Southwest Guilford Cowboys (21-6) traveled east in the county to play the Southeast Guilford Falcons (22-5) in the second round of the NCHSAA 4-A playoffs on Friday night. The Cowboys were riding high after they recorded the first 4-A baseball playoff win in school history on Tuesday night, and the Falcons were coming off what was possibly the most fundamentally sound game they played all year in their first round win.
The 11th ranked Cowboys sent sophomore left-hander Jacob Edwards to the mound because coach Reid Holmes said pregame that Edwards had given them a chance to win in every game he had pitched all year. Edwards had his best pitching performance of the year on Friday night, carrying a no-hitter into the 6th inning.
The home team, 6th ranked Falcons were set to start Austin Coble; however, Coble was sick with flu-like symptoms, so Thorn Alley was the starting pitcher for coach Dave Beasley’s Southeast Falcons on Friday night.
The first inning was uneventful for both sides. The action began in the top of the second inning when the Cowboys’ Kyle Blendinger and Ryan Lilly put together back-to-back hits off of Alley. Lilly’s hit fell in front of Falcons’ left fielder Devin Bartley who lost the ball in the sun and then made an errant throw, allowing the two Cowboys to advance to second and third with one out. Southwest’s next batter was Mason Chu, who hit a ground ball to shortstop that was booted, allowing Blendinger to score and Lilly to advance to third. Southwest then scored their second, and game winning, run on another error by the Falcons, this time on a grounder to third.
Southeast struggled offensively mostly because of the amazing performance by the Cowboys’ Edwards. Edwards didn’t give up a hit until the 6th inning when Southeast’s Ryan Douglas, a freshman who relieved starting pitcher Thorn Alley, doubled to left field.
Falcons head coach Dave Beasley gave credit to the pitching performance by the young Southwest lefthander.
“(Edwards) threw a lot of first pitch strikes and got us behind,” Beasley said. “We seemed to be late after we got behind in the count.”
Following the Douglas double, a wild pitch advanced him to third base during a long at bat by the Falcons leadoff hitter, Justin Guy, which ended in a walk. The next batter was Jarett Benson who hit a sacrifice fly to score the Falcons only run of the game. Following the Benson at bat, Edwards was pulled from the game for his good friend, Kyle Blendinger, who asked his coach for the baseball.
“I came in and wanted to sit them down,” Blendinger said. “I wanted to get us back in the dugout to try to score more runs, but mainly my mindset was to sit them down.”
Sit the Falcons down Blendinger did. He struck out two of the last four hitters he faced, while hitting 90 on the radar gun.
“He’s always been our guy,“ Blendinger said of Edwards. “The two of us have been good friends all year and talk about shutting it down and not giving up any hits, but that doesn’t always happen. We knew he had a no-hitter going, but didn’t say anything.”
Coach Reid Holmes echoed the words of everyone who gave credit to Southwest’s pitching.
“Our identity all year has been pitching and defense,” Holmes said. “I thought that was stellar tonight. Jacob Edwards gave us a great start tonight. I’m ecstatic about the effort and the outcome against a quality team. Southeast is year in, year out, as good a team as there is in the area. My hat is off to the Falcons.”
The Cowboys look to continue their success in the 4-A tournament and get the third baseball 4-A win in school history on Tuesday night.
With the loss, Southeast is eliminated from the playoffs and finishes the year with a final record of (22-6).
WP: Jacob Edwards
LP: Thorn Alley
SV: Kyle Blendinger
SWG: 2 4 1
SEG: 1 1 2
Jacob Edwards: 5 2/3 IP, H, R, 6K, BB
Kyle Blendinger: 1 1/3 IP, 2K; (1-4) 1B, 2K, R
Ryan Lilly: (1-3) R, K
Tom Grose: (1-2) SAC
Garrison Thornton: (1-4)
Thorn Alley: 4IP, 2R, 0ER, 3H, 2BB, 2IBB, 3K
Ryan Douglas: 3IP, 5K, H, 3BB, 2IBB; (1-1) 2B, R
Jarrett Benson: (0-2) SAC, RBI