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West Stanly falls in opening round of 2A baseball state playoffs

West Stanly’s baseball team, despite being the No. 2 seed in the 2A Western Region, knew they were in for a tough opponent in the opening round playoffs.

The No. 15-seeded South Rowan Raiders finished tied for second in a tough Central Carolina Conference which sent four teams into the postseason.

The Colts’ offense, which averaged 14 runs per game this season, struggled against the Raiders in a 6-2 loss Tuesday.

“We knew what we were up against,” West head coach Chad Yow said about finding out the Colts’ first-round opponent. “(South Rowan) plays in a much more competitive conference than us.”

Raiders starting pitcher Haiden Leffew threw four innings of no-hit ball in earning the win for South Rowan (13-3). The sophomore ended up allowing two earned runs on one hit with five walks and eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

The only hit allowed by Leffew was off the bat of Jett Thomas, which struck the Raiders’ pitcher and bounced to shortstop in the fifth inning.

Michael Crayton took the loss for West (13-2) giving up four earned runs on eight hits.

South Rowan jumped out to an early lead, something the Colts’ staff had talked about preventing before the game.

“If we could get through that first inning unscathed with no crooked numbers, we liked our chances,” Yow said.

Jackson Deal had four RBIs for the Raiders including two in the top of the first inning, a single to center field with the bases loaded. Deal later added a two-RBI double in the second inning.

West got on the board in the fifth with two runs. Along with Thomas’ hit, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out. Leffew was called for a balk, scoring one run, then an RBI groundout from Connor Lindsey cut the deficit to two runs.

“We never could capitalize on some two-out rallies,” Yow said.

The Colts finish the season 13-2 having won the Rocky River Conference regular-season and tournament titles.

“When we selected this team, we knew we would have two freshman and three sophomores in the lineup…we knew we would be young,” Yow said. “(Winning the RRC) is a big, big success, and these guys got some playoff experience.”

The Colts graduated four seniors this season including RRC Player of the Year Connor Tucker and Pitcher of the Year Crayton. Austin Stoker and Andrew Eudy also graduated for West.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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