BEULAVILLE — East Duplin’s top starting pitchers head into the 2A state baseball playoffs rested.
The Panther offense is hotter than the weather.
Coach Brandon Thigpen’s No. 11-seeded club traveled to Kill Devil Hills for a date with No. 6 First Flight with one mission: win to advance and get a possible rematch with Midway.
The East Central 2A teams split two conference regular season games. The Raiders won the league’s top seed via ED’s loss to Spring Creek in the season opener.
No. 3 Midway (13-1, 11-1) must first get past No. 11 Whiteville, a longtime power that was 9-4 this season.
North Duplin (6-5) is the only other Duplin County school in the state’s baseball playoffs.
The No. 13 Rebels travel to No. 4 Bear Grass.
ED (10-3, 10-2) bowled over Goldsboro twice last week for its fourth straight win and ninth in its last 10. Only a 3-1 setback to Midway spoiled the run.
Getting past the 13-0 Northeastern Coastal Conference champs, who have outscored teams 160-11, were hitting .411 as a team and had a staff ERA of 0.88 with 116 strikeouts in 72 innings.
The ECC locked in two slots. Third-place Clinton (8-5, 8-4) did not make the field.
Locked and loaded
East Duplin travels to the Outer Banks with a handful of white-hot sluggers.
Senior Logan Brown (.477) has carried the most sizzle the past two weeks.
Brown leads the team in hits (21) and RBI (23) and has three homers and four doubles.
Four other players have logged impressive stat lines for hits, runs and RBI.
- Freshman Zack Brown (.353) has 16 hits, 16 runs and 14 RBI.
- Sophomore Brecken Bowles (.353) has 14 hits, 16 runs and 14 RBI.
- Junior Nick Cavenaugh (.357) has 15 hits, 16 runs and 12 RBI.
- Senior Brady Johnson (.350) checks in with 14 hits, 16 runs and 12 RBI.
ED’s top starters, Logan Brown and Cavenaugh, are in top form.
Brown (3-0) gave up two hits in three frames on Thursday when ED ripped Goldsboro 12-2 in the regular season finale in Beulaville.
Cavenaugh (4-1) stayed sharp by throwing four innings last Tuesday during an 11-1 triumph over the Cougars. He struck out five, walked one and did not give up an earned run.
The junior, who has 45 strikeouts and 16 walks in 25.2 innings, lowered his ERA to 0.82. Brown, who also has a pair of saves, is at 1.84.
Both Panther hurlers belted blasts against Goldsboro on Thursday night.
Logan Brown hit a double and triple and knocked in five runs, while Cavenaugh had a double and triple and drove in three.
Johnson scored three times and Zack Brown went 2 for 4, and also knocked in four runs during Tuesday’s 11-1 win.
Cavenaugh, Bowles, and Johnson had run-scoring hits and Logan Brown doubled, singled and scored twice.
Rebels one of four
from CC in playoffs
North Duplin is one of four teams from the Carolina Conference to make the 1A playoff brackets.
League winner Rosewood is seeded seventh, Hobbton ninth and Princeton 11th.
ND faces one-beaten Bear Grass, champs of the Atlantic 1A Conference.
Bear Grass lost to D.H. Conley (12-1), which won the Carolina 4A/3A Conference and is seeded third in the 3A brackets in the East.
finished for season
James Kenan and Wallace-Rose Hill both put away their spikes for the summer.
The Tigers did so with two losses to Spring Creek.
Mason Brown was the hard-luck loser in Tuesday’s 2-0 setback.
He scattered five hits over six frames, walking three and whiffing eight.
The Gators (4-7, 4-7) scored both runs in the third and had just two hits.
The Tigers’ Hayden McGee had a double and single in three plate appearances. Manny Bostic was 1 for 3.
That’s all JK (1-10) got off Campbell Cunningham.
WRH’s Landon Likens likewise felt the pain of not getting run support during a 4-0 loss to Midway last Thursday in Teachey.
The senior right-hander limited the Raiders to five hits over seven innings, and went 2 for 3 at the plate.
But Reid Page’s single was the only other blemish on the ledger of sophomore Casey Culbreth, who struck out nine and did not walk a batter.
Culbreth added three hits.
Midway beat WRH 12-2 on Tuesday in Spivey’s Corner.
Kendell Cave had three hits and scored both runs. Tyler Brinkley went 1 for 3 for the Bulldogs (3-11, 2-10).
Michael Jaenicke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org