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Some of the top players and teams in North Carolina high school baseball will be trying to add hardware to their trophy cases this weekend in the 94th annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association state baseball championship series.
The 2-A and 4-A series will get underway on Friday at Doak Field on the campus of North Carolina State University, while the 1-A and 3-A classifications will get their series going on Friday at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, home of the minor league Carolina Mudcats. All the series are best-of-three games, and each of the teams in the finals survived best-of-three regional championship series.
Tickets are available for only eight dollars per game at the gate, or for nine dollars (one dollar convenience fee) available on line at www.nchsaa.org by clicking on the OnLine Store at the top of the home page.
The opening game at Doak Field on Friday will be in the 2-A series between perennial power East Rutherford (28-2) and Graham (20-9). East is in the finals for the sixth time since 2002, with state crowns in '02, '03, '04 and '07 to go with a runner-up finish in 2008. Drew Reynolds leads the way for the Cavaliers, ripping the ball at a .500 clip to go with gaudy pitching statistics (12-1, 1.37 ERA, 135 strikeouts in 76 and two/thirds innings).
Graham swept past Farmville Central in two straight to win the Eastern crown. The Red Devils are paced by hard-hitting Matt Roberts, who has 11 homers and 55 runs batted in to go with his .506 average.
Wilmington Laney (19-9) won the Eastern title over the weekend, beating Lee County two games to one, but the Western representative wasn't decided until Tuesday night due to rain as East Forsyth finally downed T.C. Roberson 7-2 in the third game of that series.
Luke Tendler paces the Laney attack in a variety of offensive categories, with a .575 batting average and a whopping 897 slugging percentage to go with 14 doubles and four homers. Dallas Perdue leads the Vikings pitching staff in wins with six.
East Forsyth (23-8) has gotten excellent play from shortstop Evan Orenstein, who is batting .382 with eight homers, has served in the closer's role and then made his only start on the mound on Tuesday night to pitch the clinching win over Roberson. The Eagles have several other long ball threats, including Garrett Robinson and Luke Dunlap with nine homers each.
At Five County Stadium, the first game on Friday will start the 1-A series in a battle between Dixon (24-5) and West Wilkes (21-11).
West Wilkes has turned things around since the Blackhawks had a 6-8 record at midseason. One of the West Wilkes leaders is Scott Gambill, who is 11-1 on the mound with a 2.06 earned run average and is also hitting .386.
Dixon, in the finals for the first time since 1977, has a powerful bat in Rookie Davis, the school's all-time career home run leader. He has 14 homers and 36 RBI this season while hitting a sizzling .577.
The 3-A series sends Wilson Hunt (26-5) against perennially strong East Rowan (29-2). Hunt, which defeated Chapel Hill two games to one in the Eastern regional series, is back in the championship for the first time since 1989. The Warriors are led by third baseman/pitcher Zack Houchins, the Big East Conference Player of the Year with a hefty .562 batting average.
East Rowan, the 2008 state runners-up when the Mustangs lost to Rocky Mount in the championship, has been hot, riding an 11-game winning streak into the finals. Noah Holmes is batting a team-leading .466 for East, and the Mustangs have a strong one-two pitching punch in Parker Gobbel (9-0, 2.03 ERA) and Will Johnson (5-0, 0.69 ERA).
The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are serving as host city sponsors for the Raleigh games. Wendy’s is the presenting sponsor of the NCHSAA sports program.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2010 STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES—94th ANNUAL
all series best of three games
CLASS 4-A: DOAK FIELD, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
WILMINGTON LANEY (19-9) vs. EAST FORSYTH (23-8)
Game 1: Friday, June 4 at 8 p.m.; Game 2: Saturday, June 5 at 2 pm; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 5 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 2-A)
CLASS 3-A: FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON
WILSON HUNT (26-5) vs. EAST ROWAN (29-2)
Game 1: Friday, June 4, 8 pm.; Game 2: Saturday, June 5, 2 pm; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 5 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 1-A)
CLASS 2-A: DOAK FIELD, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
GRAHAM (20-11) vs. EAST RUTHERFORD (28-2)
Game 1: Friday, June 4 at 5 pm; Game 2: Saturday, June 5 at 11 am; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 5 at 5 pm
CLASS 1-A: FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON
DIXON (24-5) vs. WEST WILKES (21-11)
Game 1: Friday, June 4 at 5 pm.; Game 2: Saturday, June 5 at 11 am; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 5 at 5 pm
Event: 94th annual NCHSAA Baseball Championships
Date: June 4-5, 2010
Site: Doak Field at North Carolina State University (2-A, 4-A); Five County Stadium, Zebulon (1-A, 3-A)
First Held: 1914
Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state title in best two-of-three series; 64 schools initially qualified for playoffs in each classification
Last year's champions: 1-A: South Stanly; 2-A: Mayodan Dalton McMichael; 3-A: Lake Norman; 4-A: Charlotte Ardrey Kell
Tickets: eight dollars per game; nine dollars (one dollar convenience fee) available on line at www.nchsaa.org by clicking on the OnLine Store at top of home page
Of Interest: The Most Valuable Player of the 2002 class 3-A championship, Cameron Maybin of T.C. Roberson, is having an excellent season as the center fielder for the Florida Marlins.
Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau