Pilkington's pinch hit lifts Mavs
Freshman Aaron Pilkington hit a walk off two-RBI single to lift Marvin Ridge High's baseball team to a thrilling 2-1 win over Weddington in the Southern Carolina Conference tournament championship game on Tuesday.
Zach Kuchmaner led off the bottom of the seventh with a single off WHS reliever Cameron Smetak, followed by an error and a bunt single by Kyle Corgan that loaded the bases.
Mavs coach Mark Mennitt then brought Pilkington off the bench to pinch hit. With a 2-2 count, Pilkington hit a single over the out-stretched glove of Warriors junior Jeff Welch to score Zach and Vic Kuchmaner and end the game.
"I was just trying to put the ball in play anywhere really, even if it was a sac fly or ground ball. I just didn't want to hit into a double play and it seemed to work out," Pilkington said. "It feels great. I just want to thank all of the seniors for being great supporters of me. I feel great to get them this win and our team this win."
The Mavericks (23-3) kept it close with the strong pitching performances of Max Wotell, Joe Tietjen and Jake Sagmoe.
The Warriors (17-9) got an impressive performance from starter Landon Kay, who gave up two hits and no runs in four innings of work.
"I thought our pitchers were fantastic. We threw a bunch of arms because we want to be ready for Friday," Mennitt said. "I'm proud of the way our guys competed on the mound. (Jake) Sagmoe hadn't thrown in a while and he came in and was fantastic. I'm proud of him and I'm proud of the way we came back and kept fighting..."
The Warriors got on the board first when Daniel Calabretta led off the game with a double, followed by an RBI double from Alex Bostic.
Marvin Ridge has just two hits until the decisive seventh.
"We didn't swing the bat horrible. I thought they did a good job pitching and Weddington made a lot of defensive plays," Mennitt said. "We have to find a way to produce some runs. Hitting is like that sometimes you're going to have to find a way to scratch runs. It just took us to the seventh to figure it out. Hopefully we can work on our approach at the plate over the next few days and get ready to go."
Both teams begin play in the 3A state playoffs on Friday.
Marvin Ridge hosts Hickory Ridge while Weddington, which is the defending 3A state champion, travels to East Rowan.
"That's what it comes down to, focus and execution," Mennitt said. "We're going to play hard, I have no question about that. It's about execution and staying locked in for seven innings getting the job done. It has been our recipe. Hopefully we can continue to play. Now it's loser leaves town. If that ain't motivation I don't know what is. We want to keep playing, it's as simple as that."