Prep Baseball Report

New Hanover Secures Birth in 3A State Championship

Tim Hower
Coastal Preps, PBR Guest Writer

-- After spending 16 years working as a print journalist, Tim Hower decided to take his talents solely to the web by founding Coastal Preps. Coming in the summer of 2018, will be the premier source of high school sports news in Southeastern N.C. Search Coastal Preps on Facebook and Twitter to follow for updates and stories.  PBR is happy to have Tim helping cover the NCHSAA State Playoffs.
Things don’t always go according to plan.

It was a good thing for the New Hanover baseball team Saturday night.

Making his first start of the season, senior right-hander Mitch Baddour tossed a complete-game shutout, striking out seven to guide the Wildcats to a 3-0 victory over Terry Sanford in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the 3A East championship series.

With the win, New Hanover (26-1) advances to the state championship series for the second year in a row. They will take on Crest, which earned a 7-0 victory over A.C. Reynolds in Game 3 of the West series.

Game 1 will take place Friday at a site and time to be determined. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) would both be played Saturday.

“I had Mitch scripted for 45 pitches,” New Hanover coach Richard Foy said. “I felt like he could give us 45 quality pitches, because that’s what he’s been conditioned to do this season.

“It was a ridiculously good performance, because they are a very good offensive team. I’m really proud of him and happy for him.”

Like it had been all series, pitching was the story of the game. Baddour, who entered having only thrown 20 2/3 inning all season, got into several jams. He always found a way to work out of them.

Baddour finished the game with 94 pitches and only allowed four hits. With runners on first and second and nobody out in the seventh, he struck out Logan Brown and Dean Pantelakos and got Christian Jayne to pop up to second baseman Jac Croom to set off a celebration in the middle of the diamond.

“The whole game plan today was don’t let this be our last game,” said Baddour, who still hasn’t allowed an earned run this season. “I know we’ve got the best defense in North Carolina, so I trust my guys to get it done.”

The Wildcats got on the board early. Croom led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Max Hildreth followed with a sharp single to left and Kyle Smith was hit by a pitch. Blake Walston scored Croom with a fielder’s choice, but Jayne was able to escape with no further damage.

With two outs in the fourth, Donovan Jones doubled home Walston. The next batter, Alec Cortner singled through the right side to plate Jones and increase the lead to 3-0.

In his first start of the series, Jones was a difference maker. Along with his RBI double, the senior also made an outstanding defensive play in left field.

With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the third, Andrew Jayne hit a fly ball. Jones got under it, made the catch and immediately fired a strike home to double up Brown for the final out of the inning.

“As soon as I caught it, (center fielder) Alec was telling me to throw home,” Jones said. “I just grabbed it and threw it as on line as I could. I didn’t know how good it was going to be until I saw (catcher) Kyle catch it back there.”

Terry Sanford (28-5) stranded seven runners, including two in each of the final two frames. Christian Jayne struck out a pair in 6 2/3 innings.