Topsail holds off Panthers for 3A state title
Piedmont High's pitching was great most of the year, but Topsail's was better in their 3A state championship series over the weekend.
The Pirates (21-8) won the first baseball state championship in school history by sweeping Piedmont in their best-of-3 in Five County Stadium.
They capped the season with Saturday's 5-4 win that followed Friday's 5-3 victory.
Topsail's pitchers held Piedmont to a combined 11 hits over the 14 innings, compared to 19 hits and 10 runs for the Pirates.
Piedmont made it interesting when David Nash hit a three-run double over the left fielder's head with two outs in the seventh inning, but the rally ended there.
Neither team won their conference championship, but both heated up at the right time of the year.
The Panthers wrapped up the 2014 season with a 21-10 record, and fell just short of winning two state titles in a row.
Topsail pitcher Trent Hansley, a left-hander who has signed with East Carolina, got the win and concluded his senior year with a 9-4 record.
In addition to his work on the mound, Hansley had the biggest swing of the night — a two-run homer to left field that bounced off the scoreboard, giving Topsail a 2-0 lead with one out in the first inning.
Piedmont got two runners on with no outs in the top of the second when Sikes drew a walk and Aaron Braswell bounced a single through the hole into right field. Two outs later, Todd Elwood laced a single to left to load the bases for leading hitter Nigel Hester.
Hansley got Hester to ground into a 6-4 force out, leaving three stranded.
Topsail added a run in the third inning on Clark Cota's RBI single, and Jake Madole contributed a RBI double in the fifth.
Jack Gamble knocked in Piedmont's first run on Saturday, reaching on an infield single that scored Hester in the sixth inning.
Sikes, a senior lefty and a Western Carolina signee, gave up eighth hits. He finished with an 8-3 record as a senior, and was 19-3 over his final two seasons.