Lincoln Ransom and Will Hinson celebrate the Game 2 win.
By Margaret High
It’s about as hot as an outdoor high school graduation here in Zebulon.
Game 2 proved to be much more exciting (for Whiteville) than yesterday’s 10-0 loss to Ledford in five innings. WHS Coach Brett Harwood said he was anticipating a three game series, letting senior pitcher and UNCW-commit Brooks Baldwin start today.
There was a much larger Wolfpack crowd today; the same can be said for Ledford.
Game 2 was marked by strong pitching and aggressive offense on both sides. Ledford stole lots of bases yesterday and today they attempted to repeat. However, stronger defense by the Pack kept the stolen base count to a handful.
Fatigue likely played a factor in today’s game for Ledford, both physically and mentally. In the fifth inning, Ledford’s dugout was full of players with wet towels draped over their heads while the Whiteville dugout remained sweaty but towel-less.
Highlights of the game:
Out of all these highlights, it was the passed ball thrown by Hale that put senior Matthew Smith across home plate and reminded us of Whiteville’s tradition of winning.
Matthew Smith is the youngest son of Whiteville High School Athletic Director David Smith. His eldest, Taylor, also played baseball at Whiteville and has a couple of state championship rings for himself. Their mother, Susan, rallied the crowd and has earned a reputation as the main cheerleader for all things Wolfpack.
As Matthew Smith walked across home plate and into the roaring Wolfpack crowd, he took off his helmet and tipped it to them. No one was watching David Smith in the dugout, because all eyes were on his son. Matthew earned his spot in the hitting order later in the season and worked hard to get there. So as Matthew smoothly nodded toward the fans, David Smith got emotional. This was his last baseball player, and he scored a key run in the top of the sixth that brought a little more confidence to the Wolfpack dugout for Game 2.
Game 3 will be another big fight. Jake Harwood will start pitching for Whiteville, and Ledford will probably bring back in Game 1 starting pitcher and N.C. State-commit Chris Villaman.
The Wolfpack will need to eek out an early lead and have strong defense to clutch a back-to-back title. In the meantime, everyone should keep their fingers crossed no bad weather makes its way toward Zebulon.