North Stanly baseball secures YVC regular-season crown

Published 6:39 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

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In the recent seasons of high school baseball, North Stanly’s best start to the year came in 2018 and 2019, when the team started 12-1 both years.

This season, North has jumped to a 19-1 start after winning the Yadkin Valley Conference regular-season title Tuesday night with an 11-1 five-inning home win over Union Academy. North also added a 4-3 10-inning non-conference win over Carson Thursday night.

The Comets are coached by Scott Clemons, a two-time state championship coach. He coached Randleman from 2006 to 2012, winning the state title in 2011 and runner-up in 2012. He also coached at Uwharrie Charter from 2012 to 2018, winning the 1A title in 2018, as well as coached at Wesleyan Christian Academy from 2019 to last season. Wesleyan was the state runner-up in 2021.

“One thing we are big about on this team is family,” Clemons said. “There are no ‘me’ guys on the team. We obviously had some talent already. We added some things to it that we wanted to do as a team, just to make us a little better on the field, understand our identity and how we were going to win games.”

He said getting to first was the Comets’ priority, adding North “can make things happen. We can run well. We can win ball games.”

The hustle game, like suicide bunts and putting the ball on the ground making others field it, is a style Clemmons said his team believes in.

“We’re going to make teams make plays and put pressure on them,” Clemmons said.

Regarding the season, senior Hayden Furr said it took “tons of hours” of work to become a family.

“At the beginning of the season, we were all over the place. We truly weren’t what we wanted to define as a family … where it started was those hours on Saturdays when we actually just came and did stuff for the field. We came together as one for each other, not just for ourselves,” Furr said.

In the game versus Union Academy Tuesday, senior lefty Nic Melton needed just 74 pitches to throw five innings of no-hit baseball. Melton struck out 11 and helped his own cause going 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles and five RBIs. Luke Shaver was 21-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Hayden Furr, Jackson Lisk, Clay Hatley and Trey Gibson all drove in two runs each.

Melton, calling this season his “last ride,” said he loves being out on the mound.

“I definitely have had high expectations for myself,” Melton said, adding the one run he gave up Tuesday still bothered him despite not giving up a run.

“Good teams and good players focus on the small things, the little details. That’s a compliment to (Coach Clemmons). He’s really transformed this team into some guys who like to come out and play baseball. We play hard.”

The senior noted the team is confident, noting many of his team have continued to step up their games. He mentioned Trey Gibson, whose hitting improved over the season, including clutch hitting in the team’s win in an Easter tournament last week which the Comets won.

“We compete very well and that is something that goes unsaid in baseball. Competing now is not something that’s brought up a lot, in my opinion,” Melton said. “This team has a lot of heart and confidence, and we really compete well.”

Clemmons said Melton has “a high-level arm” and “understands how to pitch,” adding the senior “has been very good for us this year.” He said the team’s deep pitching staff, with “six to seven arms that are better than average high school arms,” have also helped the team be successful this season.

North Stanly will play next week in the YVC conference tournament, hosted by South Stanly, then will likely be at home the week after in the 2A state playoffs.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. 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 won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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