ZEBULON, N.C. – Northern Guilford took game one of the 3A State Championship Series over Crest 4-2 behind a complete game, four-hit performance by Cameron Cotter. Cotter allowed two runs, striking out six with only two walks on the evening.
The Nighthawk offense got going early, scoring in the bottom of the second inning with John Clark Ouzts led off the inning with a single ripped to left. Brandon Bledsoe singled to bring him home and give Northern Guilford a 1-0 lead.
The Chargers did not go away quietly as they responded in the third inning. Pitcher Riley Cheek helped his own cause with a one-out double, coming around to score on an RBI single to center field by shortstop Nick Melton. Melton’s single tied the game at 1.
J.T. Jarrett delivered single to center field in the fourth inning, sending Reece Brondolo and Logan King racing for home to give the Nighthawks a 3-1 advantage.
Crest trimmed the lead to one in the top of the sixth as Logan McNeely led off with a walk, then stole second base. Ben Ledbetter singled to right field to bring McNeely around, cutting the Northern Guilford lead in half at 3-2. However, the Nighthawks got some insurance in the bottom half of the inning as Evan Mericka grounded to short, reaching on a throwing error. The error allowed Bledsoe to come around to score, increasing the Northern lead to 4-2.
Northern Guilford can close out the best-of-three Championship Series with a win tomorrow. Game two of the series is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at Five County Stadium in Zebulon.