Stickle stays in groove with Randolph County Post 45

Caleb Stickle, who began the month helping Uwharrie Charter Academy win a state championship, is a key infielder for Randolph County Post 45. (Bob Sutton / Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO – Some of the tension might have lessened since the thrilling baseball postseason in high school for Caleb Stickle.

But he said he doesn’t want his mindset to change with Randolph County Post 45.

Fresh of Uwharrie Charter Academy’s second consecutive Class 1A state championship, he has graduated. Last week, he committed to play for Guilford Tech.

“It was getting late,” he said of the desire to lock in a plan. “I knew I wanted to play.”

Randolph County has had fluctuating results the past few weeks. Stickle and other UCA players such as Trey Kennedy and Grat Dalton missed the beginning of the American Legion season because of the high school state playoffs.

There generally has been a quieter tone so far with Post 45 compared to the playoffs. Stickle said he maintains the same approach.

“I tend to follow what Coach (Rob) Shore would say to ‘mind between the lines’ when I’m here,” Stickle said, referring to his UCA coach.

Despite a brief break after UCA’s season, Stickle said he was intent on picking up where he left off.

“I really stayed in the groove,” he said. “I’m glad to be back out here.”

Stickle, who’ll likely be a middle infielder for Guilford Tech, said his other options included Anna Maria College, a Division III school in Massachusetts, and Rockingham Community College.

Meanwhile, Post 45’s Pierce Leonard said he’s likely done after one season at Guilford Tech. He’s a former player for UCA and Eastern Randolph.

Around the diamonds …

Randolph County defeated Liberty Post 81 for the third time in three meetings this season Monday night. The 9-3 home victory at McCrary Park came with Parker Kines as the winning pitcher for the second time in eight nights vs. Liberty, logging five innings.

Austin Lemons drove in three runs and Clay Hill and Samuel Asbill both had two hits for Post 45.

That left Post 45 at 9-10 overall, 3-2 in Area 3 North Division. Liberty is 9-8, 1-4.

** Post 45 played five games against out-of-state opponents and went 2-3 at McCrary Park.

The stretch began with an 11-1 midweek victory against Beverly-Lowell (Ohio) Post 389/750, with Braxton Walker picking up the pitching victory and Jake Riddle supplying four hits. Dalton drove in three runs.

Randolph County won again by nipping Berkeley (W.Va.) Post 14 by 2-1 on Friday behind Drew Harmon’s two-hitter. He walked two and struck out eight.

“This was one of his best,” Post 45 manager Ronnie Pugh said.

Harmon said he believes it’s the first time he has pitched seven innings in a game on any level. He was aided by two innings when he needed only seven pitches.

Stickle’s RBI groundout and Leonard’s sacrifice fly accounted for the Post 45 runs.

St. Mary’s (Md.) Post 255 defeated Post 45 by 7-2 on Saturday despite two hits each from Dalton and Harmon. Drake Purvis was the losing pitcher.

Later in the day, Morgantown (W.Va.) Post 2 held off Randolph County’s comeback for a 9-6 victory. Brett Smith took the pitching defeat.

On Sunday, St. Mary’s topped Randolph County 9-6, with Asbill taking the loss.

** Post 81 fell in last week’s 3-0 road loss to Garner Post 232. Then last Friday’s Area 3 home game vs. High Point was rescheduled to this week.

By Bob Sutton