The Stallions hit the road visiting Uwharrie Charter Academy the third ranked Class 1A team in the state, and the 3rd seed in the NCHSSA State Tournament recently. They had a Saturday night playoff contest that was an exciting second round ballgame.
Head Coach Dan Kerr’s team entered the game playing some of the best baseball they had played all season coming off a 10-8 victory over Andrews.
In the second inning the hometown Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead, after two outs a couple of miscues on the field would come back to haunt the Stallions.
The visitors would only score one more run when Nick Kuebler hammered a double that bounced over the left center field wall to make the game 4-2. The two teams would put up goose eggs the remainder of the contest. Starter Bryce Gorospe pitched 6 innings allowing 6 hits, and 1 earned run.
In the seventh inning Jacob LaPlant smacked a hard smash past the second basemen for a hit. The next batter Keegan Kilpatrick bunted, the throw to first base sailed high past first putting runners on corners with no outs. After another bunt try backfired, Kilpatrick was thrown out on the base paths for the first out. Then Jacob Beard would strikeout on a ball in the dirt, forcing a throw to first base, Laplant broke for home from third instinctively and appeared to slide safely under the tag, but was called out by the home plate umpire to end the game and the season for the Stallions.
The Stallions the 14th seed ended their season with a 15-10 overall record, and 9-3 in the PAC-7 Conference. The team graduates two seniors Orlowski and Thaxton and should be set next season with many returning starters with good pitching potential including Gorospe, Michael Ritch, Jacob Laplant, Jacob Beard, and Andy Duran who could develop into a starter or become a solid closer.
Team leaders include All-Conference, All-Region, and possibly one All-State player for the Stallions. Andy Duran the super sophomore finished the season with a team leading .541 batting average, 43 runs scored, 40 hits, 27 RBI’s, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, 17 stolen bases, OBP .598, Slugging .932, OPS 1.530. Only Bryce Gorospe who hit a solid .421 had more doubles, 12 for the season. Meanwhile, all around player and senior team leader John Orlowski finished his career in the top five of all players in school history in a number of offensive categories, an excellent defensive catcher, solid pitcher who ended his final season with a 5-4 record, 4.80 ERA, 58 strikeouts facing 186 batters while logging 42.1 innings. Offensively, he hit .333, 20 RBI’s, 6 doubles and 1 home run. “His leadership will be missed greatest of all,” said Coach Kerr. Other players with solid batting averages include Spencer Smith .368, Cody Marsh .367, Nick Kuebler .346, Laplant .333, Michael Ritch .324, Robbie Corley .316.