In a winner take all matchup to advance to the second round of the Area IV playoffs, Lincoln County defeated Burke County 9-4 Saturday night in Morganton.
They say baseball can be a weird game at times, that statement was evident Saturday night at Shuey Park in Morganton. After showing no signs of doing anything against Burke County starting pitcher Brycen Seymore, with two outs in the sixth inning, the baseball gods shined on Lincoln County. With patience leading to walks, and timely hitting, the Cardinals were able to send 11 straight batters to the plate and explode for nine runs in the inning.
As a team, Lincoln County had seven hits on the night, with six of them coming in the last two innings of the game. Nate Callahan led the Cards with two hits, while David Borges led the team with three RBI’s on the night.
Lincoln County starting pitcher Trenton Wood, worked efficiently in 3.1 innings of work, allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits while striking out two batters. Zach Horton and Jackson Farnsworth pitched in relief for the Cardinals, keeping the game within striking distance when the Lincoln County bats were cold.
Just as it was in game four, Burke County took the lead in the first inning. Josh Maddux led off with a double to left field, then came in to score on a Seymore RBI single to center field.
Lincoln County threatened in the third inning to try and tie the ballgame up at one with a runner on first and third, but Seymore recorded a groundout to third base to end the threat.
Burke County extended its lead in the fourth inning, capitalizing on an infield error that gave Triston Robinson the opportunity to step up to the plate. He then proceeded to poke a two-out RBI single down the right field line that was fair by inches to give Burke County a 2-0 lead.
Post 21 doubled its lead in the fifth inning on RBI singles from Ayden Lail, and Dylan Poplin to give them a 4-0 lead. With the way Seymore was pitching, a four-run margin seemed to be enough on the night to secure the victory. This was before all chaos broke loose in Morganton.
With two outs in the sixth inning Lincoln County put on its rally caps, and it all started with a bloop single to right field from Matty Jorgensen. The Cardinals had five hits, and earned five walks in the inning, forcing Burke County to use four different pitchers to try and stop the rally. Horton and Callahan each had RBI singles in the inning and Borges had the biggest hit of the night, a bases-clearing, three-RBI double to left field to blow the game open. The other four runs were scored on bases-loaded walks or passed balls, making it 9-4 in favor of the Cardinals at the end of the frame.
Farnsworth shut down the Burke County bats, allowing no runs in the final 2.1 innings of the game to pick up the win for Lincoln County, while Seymore took the loss for Burke County.
Lincoln County advances to the second round of the Area IV playoffs where they will face the Eastern Division’s number one seed Mint Hill in a best-of-five series that was to start Sunday night at Independence High School.
Lincoln County 000 009 0 - 9 7 1
Burke County 100 120 0 - 4 8 1
(Game 4) Cardinals 9, Burke County 4
In a must win game to keep their season alive, Lincoln County defeated Burke County 9-4 Friday night to force a decisive game five.
With their season on the line, the Cardinals’ bats erupted for an eight run third inning, which ended up being the difference maker in game four. Nate Callahan had a breakout night for the Cardinals with three hits, and Allden Horne continued to produce in the leadoff spot with two hits of his own.
Lincoln County starting pitcher Karson Williams settled in smoothly after a shaky first inning to provide the Cardinals exactly what they needed Friday night, which was someone who could go deep in the game to save pitching. He worked into the seventh inning before being pulled with one out. The 2018 Lincolnton graduate allowed four runs on seven hits, while striking out three.
Burke County came out swinging and was able to score one run in the first inning on three hits, highlighted by a RBI sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Ayden Lail, scoring Josh Maddux.
The Cardinals had runners on first and second with one out in the first, but Lail worked his way out of a jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
Lincoln County tied it up in the second inning when Dylan Dodson knocked a RBI sacrifice fly to right field scoring Gabe Duncan.
In the third inning, the Cardinals sent 13 batters to the plate, eight of which would score. Lail started walking batters with the bases loaded, which accounted for two runs. Then Gabe Duncan, Dylan Dodson, Callahan and Horne all had RBI hits later in the inning to blow open the game. Burke County used three different pitchers in the inning to try and cool down the Cardinals bats.
Post 21 added a run in the sixth inning with a solo home run to left field from Hunter Smith for their second run of the game.
Burke County attempted to stage a comeback in the seventh inning, scoring two runs to make it 9-4. But relief pitcher Jackson Farnsworth was able to record two flyouts to right field, including a spectacular diving catch from Callahan to end the ball game.
Williams picked up the win for Lincoln County, while Lail took the loss for Burke County.