FAYETTEVILLE – The weather was uncooperative for the first two days of the NCHSAA 1A Baseball State Championships series, and after play was suspended in the bottom of the third inning of Game 1 on Saturday, the series was moved to South View High School on Sunday afternoon. On a steamy and sunny afternoon, the Perquimans Pirates prevailed behind the ironman efforts of Tanner Thach, who was selected as the 1A State Championship Series Most Valuable Player.
The Pirates knocked off East Surry 5-4 in 10 innings in game one, closing out the series in thrilling fashion with a 7-5 nail-biting win in Game 2. The win secured Perquimans their third Baseball State Championship in program history, winning their first title since collecting the 2A crown in 1962.
Game 1 Recap | Perquimans walks off East Surry 5-4 in 10 innings
Having just finished his third scoreless inning of work on the mound, Tanner Thach helped his own cause and drove a leadoff double to left center to open the 10th inning. It proved to be a crucial blow when Jackson Russell slapped a one-out single to left, plating his second RBI of the game and driving in the courtesy runner for Thach, M. Byrum, to close out the game 5-4.
Thach was nearly flawless on the mound in Game 1, striking out seven without a walk while allowing just a single hit. His mound work backed up Landon Gregory who threw 4.2 innings allowing just two runs on two hits after the resumption of play on Sunday.
East Surry led through the overnight suspension, plating a pair of runs in the top of the second. After a leadoff single for Folger Boaz in the second, Evan McCreary drove him home to draw first blood with a line single to right. Anthony Ayers added an RBI groundout for the second run of the inning, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Perquimans answered with one run in the bottom of the third when Jett Winslow drove a ball for a single to left, pushing home a run and cutting the East Surry lead in half with runners on the corners and one away in the inning. That’s when the rain began to fall and play was suspended for the night.
On the resumption of play, Thach worked the count full before doubling to center field and pushing home both runners to put the Pirates up 3-2. The Cardinals answered with a pair of their own in the top of the fifth, Luke Bowman doubled in two runs with two outs to surge back in front 4-3.
Russell also drove in the tying run in the sixth when Trey Armstrong dropped what would have been a sacrifice fly, scoring Thach and cutting down Mason Byrum at third on what was scored a fielder’s choice.
Game 2 Recap | Thach closes the door on East Surry, Pirates hold on for 7-5 victory
Tanner Thach came in to protect a three-run lead in the seventh inning, and while things were a bit dicey for the powerful left-hander, he got the job done, stranding the tying runs in scoring position after putting them at second and third with just one out. Thach struck out the final two batters of the game to preserve the two-run lead and pick up the save in a 7-5 Perquimans win over East Surry.
The top of the sixth was the decisive inning, with Perquimans getting a leadoff double from Trenton Sawyer. Colby Brown followed that up with a bunt single, advancing the courtesy runner Mason Byrum to third. Byrum scored on a one-out wild pitch to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead before Macon and Jett Winslow both drew walks to load the bases. Thach drew a bases-loaded walk, pushing across the second run of the frame and putting Perquimans up 6-4. Jacob Meads singled to left to push another run across and give the Pirates a 7-4 lead.
The Pirates opened the scoring early, plating one in the top of the first as Macon Winslow stole third and the throw to try and get him squirted into left field allowing him to scamper home for the first run of the game. East Surry managed to even the game at 1 with a run in the bottom of the frame.
Perquimans picked up another run in the second when Colby Brown doubled to center plating Russell. Brown was tagged out between second and third trying to advance, and Folger Boaz managed to get weak contact from the Pirates hitters for the final two outs of the second to prevent further damage in the inning.
The Cardinals hung three on the board in the second as a bases-loaded, two-out, infield single by Benji Gosnell plated the tying run, evening the game at two. The pitcher Boaz slapped a line drive single to right, scoring two and putting the Cardinals up 4-2.
Perquimans opened the fourth with three straight singles before Jackson Russell scored on an error by Boaz in the fourth. After surrendering the single run, Boaz struck out the side. The Pirates knotted the game in the fifth thanks to a leadoff single by Thach, who advanced to third on a passed ball followed by a wild pitch. He came home on a sacrifice fly by Landon Gregory, tying the game at four.