The Corinth Holders baseball team celebrates after beating Apex, 9-2, on Friday night in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A second round matchup at home. Kai Jones | Johnstonian News
Corinth Holders senior Tyler Smith gets into position in the third inning of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A second round matchup against Apex on Friday night. The hosting No. 3 Pirates got a 2 for 4 performance from Smith to defeat the No. 14 Cougars, 9-2. Kai Jones | Johnstonian News
Corinth Holders senior Landon Ginn throws a pitch in the first inning of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A second round matchup against Apex on Friday night. The hosting No. 3 Pirates got six innings and eight strikeouts to defeat the No. 14 Cougars, 9-2. Kai Jones | Johnstonian News
By Kai Jones
By Kai Jones
firstname.lastname@example.org | 252-265-7824 | Twitter: @MMJKaiJones
WENDELL — The postseason allows for fresh starts, and the Corinth Holders varsity baseball team got off to a good start with a 9-2 home win over Apex in round 2 of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A playoffs on Friday, May 10.
Pirates head coach Adam Weaver, who has sported a long beard all season, decided to cut it before the 4-A Northern Athletic Conference tournament after Corinth Holders (19-5) lost two of its last three regular-season games.
“The team had one of those lulls where we weren’t playing well, so I had to clean my act up and hopefully we’d clean up our play,” Weaver quipped. “I started a new one (beard). I had to clean my act up so it would filter into how we played. This is a new (season) now.”
Corinth Holders is 3-0 since Weaver made the change. But against the No. 14-seeded Cougars (13-9) of the 4-A South Wake Conference, the Pirates, seeded third and coming off a first-round bye, needed a great performance from their senior starting pitcher Landon Ginn. The East Carolina University commit was ill with a stomach virus days earlier and has been dealing with back issues. Ginn had a rough start against the top of the Cougars lineup. Freshman Lukas Schramm, the No. 3 hitter, hit a one-out, two-run home run after senior Sam Highfill’s leadoff walk. Ginn settled in after the first inning and pitched six innings, allowing two hits, two walks and two earned runs. The right-hander struck out eight batters.
The Cougars, who downed No. 19 Purnell Swett in the first round Tuesday, didn’t score again.
“Our team needed a gutty performance on the mound, and we needed someone to compete for us and keep us in a close game,” Weaver said. “Their first four hitters can swing it with anybody, but what he did and what he gave us on the mound tonight was important. He kept us at a spot where the hitters in the lineup could relax a little bit and do what we do.”
The Pirates scored all nine runs in the first three innings off of 12 hits, getting just two hits the rest of the game. Eight of the nine Corinth Holders hitters got a hit and six of them knocked in at least one run. Ginn and junior Tanner Smith, a Campbell University commit, each finished 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI. Junior Zane Blinson was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Ginn said his offense helped him bounce back from the rough start.
“It was tough to begin with, because I was struggling and couldn’t breathe too well,” Ginn said. “I battled all the way through the night. My teammates got my back all the way through. They really got me to push all the way through. It was good to pitch with a lead. I was in control from there.”
Ty Cummings retired Apex in order in the seventh inning, striking out the last batter.
The Pirates will host No. 8 Wilmington Laney on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Score by innings:
WP-Landon Ginn 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO. LP-Ben Peterson 3 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Corinth Holders: Landon Ginn 2-4, 2B, RBI; Tanner Smith 2-4, 2B, RBI; Zane Blinson 2-3, RBI. Apex: Lukas Schramm 1-2, HR, 2 RBI; Sam Highfill 1-4, 2B.
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