FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — One down, one more to go. At some point.
The J.H. Rose baseball team took Game 1 of the best-of-3 NC High School Athletic Association Class 3-A baseball state championship series with an 8-1 win over Cox Mill on Saturday at J.P. Riddle Stadium in Fayetteville.
The Rampants (15-4), winners of 11 straight, and Cox Mill (15-4) were scheduled to play again Saturday at 5 p.m. Later on Saturday, WNCT’s Nolan Knight tweeted the second game between the two teams had been postponed due to poor field conditions after rain forced a delay in the Class 1-A series between Perquimans and East Surry, who were playing at the same facility.
Knight reports Rose and Cox Mill will play at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville starting at 1 p.m. Sunday. A deciding game will follow if the Rampants do not win Game 2.
Knight said the Class 1-A state title series will also move from J.P. Riddle Stadium and will play at South View High School, also in Fayetteville.
If Rose wins one more game, it will collect its seventh state title under Ronald Vincent, the winningest baseball coach in state history. Rose has won baseball titles under Vincent in 1975, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2008, according to the NCHSAA.
Vincent told Knight he would start Tyler Bonds on the mound in Game 2. Bonds carried a no-hitter against D.H. Conley into the sixth inning in their 5-0 win in Wednesday’s Eastern Regional final. He pitched a complete-game two-hitter with seven strikeouts in that game.
Caleb May got things started Saturday for the Rampants in the second with an RBI double that scored Cam Greenway for a 1-0 lead. May later scored on a wild pitch before A.J. Briley scored on a dropped third strike for a 3-0 lead.
Rose starting pitcher Lee Watson was in control throughout. After giving up two hits to Cox Mill in the first inning, he struck out the side in the second and another in the third.
Gair was throwing in the 90s early on. However, the Rampants took advantage of some timely hits, five Cox Mill errors and other mistakes by the Chargers.
Rose pushed its lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI double by Jayden Grimes that scored Danny Sadler. An infield error later scored Grimes.
Cox Mill got its only run in the top of the fifth. In the sixth, Rose added two more runs when Grimes was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Ryker Galaska was walked, also with the bases loaded.
In the top of the seventh, Rose pushed its lead to 8-1, scoring another run on an error.
Watson allowed one earned run and struck out seven while walking just one over seven innings. Gair, a UNC Wilmington recruit who is likely to be chosen in the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft, struck out 11 but was pulled after four innings.
Rain became an issue in the fifth inning as showers passed through the area. The two coaches and officials met and, despite field conditions appearing to look bad, they continued to play. The rain eventually passed.