Mustangs capture SPC baseball tournament title
DENVER – Winning the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference regular season baseball championship wasn’t enough for East Lincoln High.
The Mustangs knocked off West Lincoln 8-3 to collect the SPC tournament crown Saturday, May 5, capping off an unbeaten run through league games this season.
East Lincoln’s celebration didn’t last long however, as the Mustangs prepared to host South Iredell in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs on Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m.
But any win over West Lincoln deserves accolades, Mustangs junior Danny Sullivan said.
“We’ve always had trouble getting hits against West Lincoln’s pitchers,” Sullivan said.
“They’re a rival, and they’re always tough to play. But we’ve got a solid senior class and a good group of guys and we were ready for them.”
The Mustangs (20-4, 14-0 SPC) beat West Lincoln thanks to strong pitching by Garrett Young and Nick Savoie.
Young went 3 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits, striking out two, before he gave way to Savoie with the bases loaded in the fourth inning.
Savoie rose to the occasion. He shut out the Rebels over the final 3 1/3 innings, striking out two and allowing just two hits.
Zac Rust (2-for-2, one RBI, one run), Addison Parrish (2-for-4, one run) and Clay Hodges (1-for-3, one RBI, two runs) led the Mustangs at the plate.
The SPC’s playoff structure forced East Lincoln to play three games in three days, but Mustangs coach Chris Matile said his players were up to the challenge.
“(I’m) very proud of our guys,” Matile said. “(It was) a long week, playing four games and three in a row … (we) got great performances throughout the week by our pitchers, and offensively, we were able to get some comfortable leads.”
Sullivan, who went 2-for-4 and scored a run, agreed.
“We were determined to win and we did what we had to do,” Sullivan said.
“We had some tough games but we felt like at the beginning of the year we could win the conference tournament. West Lincoln was tough and so was North Lincoln.”
The Mustangs beat North Lincoln 9-5 in the semifinal.
East Lincoln’s next test also promises to be difficult.
South Iredell finished the regular season with a 12-11 mark and an 8-6 record in Catawba Valley 2A/3A conference play.
The Vikings enter the contest with wins in three of their last four contests. South Iredell lost 6-5 to Valdese Draughn in the CVAC semifinal on May 4.
East Lincoln and South Iredell last met in a nonconference game on March 24, 2009, a game the Mustangs won, 15-5.