The Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference regular-season champion West Lincoln Rebels and the runner-up East Lincoln Mustangs will meet for a fourth time this season today in the SPC tournament championship game in Vale at 7 p.m.
The teams both took wins in their second-round matchups on Friday. West Lincoln avenged a 6-5 loss to Lake Norman Charter on Apr. 29 with a 3-2 win and the Mustangs hammered third-place Cherryville 11-5.
West Lincoln has a 3-0 record against East Lincoln this season with an 8-4 win on Mar. 26, a 4-1 win on Apr. 4 in the Shelby Easter Tournament and a 5-2 victory on Apr. 26.
The Rebels’ win over Lake Norman Charter marked a milestone for one of West Lincoln’s standout players. Senior short stop Brett Huff, a Lenoir-Rhyne signee, got his 100th career hit with a home run in the sixth inning, making him the fifth Rebel in history to meet that mark.
Huff’s milestone home run wasn’t his only clutch hit of the game. Huff singled home Daniel Schesney in the bottom of the seventh to give the Rebels the win. Schesney was a courtesy runner for West Lincoln catcher Derrick Braun, who led off the bottom of the seventh with a ground ball to short stop and reached first base on an error. Alec Johnson drew a four-pitch walk and Ethan Bumgarner loaded the bases with a bunt to bring Huff to the plate.
Lake Norman Charter took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third with a two-out single. West Lincoln senior Cameron High recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
Lake Norman Charter scored its final run and took a 2-0 lead over the Rebels in the top of the fourth on a one-out single.
Huff got the Rebels on the board in the sixth with his first-pitch home run to left field. Dalton Towery reached on an error, stole second and crossed home when High tied the game up at 2-2 with a one-out single to centerfield.
East Lincoln started off its game against Cherryville with a seven-run first inning that included a grand slam home run from senior Western Carolina signee Addison Parrish. The Mustangs padded their lead with two runs in the third and scored twice in the fourth.
Cherryville’s Dylan Harris hit a three-run home run in the third. Cherryville added two more runs in the sixth.
Nick Savoie earned the win from the mound for East Lincoln, his seventh of the season, in 5.1 innings with four strikeouts and eight hits. Brett Wright entered the game in relief and gave up no runs and no hits.
Darin Salter added two hits and two RBIs for East Lincoln. Blake Strupp went 1-1 with two runs scored and Savoie went 1-2 with an RBI.
“Was a good win to put us in the tournament championship against West Lincoln on Monday,” East Lincoln head coach Chris Matile said in an email. “Pitching and defense had another solid night, and the offense is starting to make turn for the better. Sophomore Brett Wright did a great job in relief coming in with the bases loaded in the sixth to get us back in the dugout without surrendering any more runs.”