NEW LONDON — Starmount held on to claim a first-round 1A West win over host North Stanly Tuesday night.
Starmount took an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth and then held on as North Stanly close to within two runs in the seventh.
Dalton Oliver earned the win, throwing 106 pitches over 5.2 innings. Oliver, a sophomore, allowed six hits, two earned runs, four walks, and struck out seven. Blake Cheek got the last two outs to earn the save.
Starmount Coach Josh Pardue said the decision to pull Oliver was based on the 90-plus degree temperatures and a delay that occurred in the sixth inning.
Ben Combs drove in four runs with two hits, including a double. “He had some key hits in the middle of the lineup,” Pardue said.
Pardue said the Rams’ fast start Tuesday night might have surprised the Comets. The Rams came in with a 7-16 record; the Comets came in 14-10.
“Top to bottom, any team could have won a game in our conference,” Pardue said. “It give us an advantage. We shocked them early. You could tell they were not expecting that.”
Sawyer Davis went 3-for-3 with a double and Garrett Stokes went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
After nine straight losses, Starmount has now won its last two. “It’s nice to have a fresh start,” Pardue said. “Maybe this is something to jump off of.”
The Rams travel to East Surry to take on the undefeated Cardinals in the second round tonight at 7. East Surry, 25-0, defeated Bishop McGuinness, 11-2, to advance.
The Cardinals defeated the Rams 10-1 and 8-3 March 15 in two five-inning games in Boonville. It was the third and fourth games of the week for both teams then.
“It’s not the same situation,” Pardue said. “We’ll have enough arms.”
Pardue said he is not worried about East Surry’s gaudy record. “There’s no pressure on us,” Pardue said. “For us, we can’t really worry about what they are going to do. We’re still going to have to throw strikes, field the ball, and hit strikes.
“To us, it’s just a faceless team.”
S 203 003 0 — 8 10 0
NS 100 002 3 — 6 7 0
S: Dalton Oliver, Tanner Somers (6), Blake Cheek (7) and Caleb West. NS: Tyler Burris, Noah Crisco (6) and Zac Almond. 2B: Ben Combs (S), West (S), Sawyer Davis (S), Almond (NS). HR: Almond (NS).
Elkin 2, Thomas Jefferson 1: In Elkin, Deyonna Gonzales scored off a set play with less than seven minutes to play as the Elks defeated the Gryphons in a 1A West first round matchup.
The goal started with a corner kick by Karla Fuentes. Gonzales found the ball and headed it in to break a 1-1 tie.
Elkin Coach Heath Foster was not ready to praise his team after the game. The praise he had was mainly for the visiting Gryphons.
“They were physical,” Foster said. “They won 90 percent of the ball in the air. We were spectators a lot tonight.
“We should have had more opportunities. We need to play less kickball.”
Makayla Dimmette scored the first Elkin goal in the first half.
“I felt like we could have played better,” Foster said, “but ultimately it’s win; it’s an advancement.”
The Elks, 13-4-3, host East Wilkes in a second round game tonight at 6.
East Wilkes 2, Cherokee 0: In Cherokee, Melia Higgins scored twice off set pieces as the visiting Cardinals defeated the Braves in a 1A West first-round playoff game.
The first Higgins goal came 10 minutes into the second half. The second came midway through the second half.
Both were set up by corners by Brooke Schubart.
Hannah Jolly earned the save in net.
East Wilkes Coach Matt Campbell credited the play of “everybody on the back line. Amber Parks, Bethany Testerman, Destiny Gregory, Amanda Ford. They all played extremely well.”
Campbell also mentioned the play of Schubart in midfield. “She’s been our go-to midfielder,” Campbell said. “She played well.”
Campbell said his team’s “legs weren’t under us the first 10 minutes” after the long trip. “We were getting it down there, we just weren’t getting any shots,” Campbell said. “When we got the goal in the second half, it put a certain amount of pressure on them.
“It was a great experience for our girls,” East Wilkes assistant coach Ralph Beshears said. “It was a long trip. They played hard. They played well.”
East Wilkes, now 8-11-1, will play at Elkin tonight at 6.
“I’m glad we have the opportunity to keep playing,” Campbell said. “That’s what everybody wants to do right now.”
Avery County 5, Starmount 0: In Newland, the Vikings scored four first-half goals on their way to a 1A West first-round win over the Rams.
Starmount finishes their season at 5-14-1. Avery County, now 13-9, hosts Lincoln Charter in a second-round game.
East Wilkes 18, Pine Lake Prep 0: In Ronda, the Cardinals made short work of the visiting Pride in a first-round 1A West matchup.
East Wilkes will host a second round game Friday at 6.