In the East Rutherford game during the third round of the baseball playoffs, it was a call by Todd Beheler, the first base coach to send Cam Snethen on a bloop hit to stretch a single into a double in the seventh. Ever since that set up, the game winning run to beat the defending 2A state champs and neighboring rival East Rutherford, R-S Central hasn't looked back.
It's official, R-S Central has won the Western Region in 2A for 2017. Now, they head to the State title series this weekend (June 2nd and 3rd) at Five County Stadium, which is home to the Carolina Mudcats. R-S Central must win two of three games to be state champions.
It was 2007 when Ryan Arrowood, Will Thompson among others that led R-S Central to the 3A Western Regional Finals. As solid as that team shown, Southeast Guilford was too much and won the Regional series that year.
The Hilltoppers now have a chance to win their first baseball title and in the 2A ranks as they face Edenton Holmes (26-3).
After two days of rain postponing events the Hilltoppers captured a 6-4 win in game 1 on Thursday over Lake Norman Charter and cruised to a 9-1 victory in game 2 on Friday. The Friday win captured the West for R-S Central (26-4). Central went up 5-0 in game 1 before holding on and gained a 4-0 advantage in game two.
Holmes likes to steal bases and has an .311 batting average, ERA of 0.97 and a .958 fielding percentage. All are strong numbers. Holmes has three quality pitchers in Dylan Patrick, Patrick Downum and Mathew Benfield.
As for R-S Central, they also have some speed when reaching the bases. Dillon Phillips and Jace Crowe have been solid from the mound. It's been a step up if you will kind of effort at the plate between everyone. Nobody has really taken the reigns, but they are getting the job done when they need to in order to win games.
R-S has a 34-7 run advantage during this playoff race, while Holmes has a 26-4 advantage.
The 2A state title is in Zebulon, NC and the Hilltoppers will face the aces at 8pm on Friday. Game two will be at 2pm. If there is a game three, it maybe played at 5 or 8 that same day. Crest will also be representing the SMAC in the 3A bout on the same field this weekend.
I expect to see Crowe, Phillips, Cam and Keaton Snethen, Adam McDowell, Jake Laughter, Nate Collins, Wesley Smith and Joe Conner to get the majority of the work.
Chadd Fowler (Head Coach), Sammy Hooper, Todd Beheler, Jordan Rumfelt and Ridge Beheler are well deserving coaches to get the opportunity to help R-S Central capture the title. Still, good luck to all the Hilltoppers and may Rutherford County be behind them as a state title is within grasp.
In the Coca Cola 600, it was Austin Dillon winning his first Cup race, nearly a year after a death-defying crash at Daytona. Fuel mileage was the name of the game at the end and Martin Truex Jr. could have taken his third Coke 600 in a row, but only has one to show for it due to fuel strategy.
While Tukuma Sato became the first Japanese racer to win the Indy 500 and passed an elite driver in Helio Castroneves to do so, something else will foreshadow the win.
Scott Dixon and Jay Howard cheated death this past Sunday. Howard's car turned into the wall during the race and Dixon had nowhere to go as he hit and flew over the top of Howard's car. Dixon ends up hitting the wall airborne, but luckily hit the top portion of the barrier with the side of the car. Had Dixon hit head first on top of the wall, it's probably a different outcome. Both could have been killed by the debris as we saw from Justin Wilson at Pocono in 2015. Go back to the video from Sunday and Dixon is nearly hit by his own tire.
Listen, I love the history and prestige of the Indy 500 and I am glad both drivers were able to walk away. While the cars and walls are getting safer (it's never going to be safe enough in my eyes), but flying debris is still a deep concern of mine.