Randleman’s postseason run hits pause

Randleman pitcher Drake Purvis delivers a pitch in the West Region finals Thursday night against Community School of Davidson in Mooresville. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

 

MOORESVILLE – Randleman’s baseball team finally encountered something in this Class 2-A state playoffs that it couldn’t conquer.

“Can’t do anything about Mother Nature,” coach Jake Smith said while walking out of Moor Park on Thursday night.

Yet the Tigers still did good work before Game 2 of the best-of-3 West Region final was suspended after four innings. They lead Community School of Davidson 5-0.

Randleman carried a 30-1 record into the game, needing one more victory to secure a spot in the state finals and a chance to repeat a championship.

Lightning and then heavy rains fell. After a delay of about an hour, a decision was made to nix resuming until at least Friday, though a time and location hadn’t been set.

Randleman pitcher Drake Purvis allowed one base runner in four innings. The Spartans only threatened in the first, with a runner reaching second base with two outs. In the second inning, Purvis struck out the side.

The Tigers offense displayed clutch at-bats, with all the runners to cross the plate doing so with two outs.

“Two-strike hitting and putting the ball in play and making them make plays,” shortstop Trey Way said. “That’s all you can do.”

It began with Bryson Sweatt’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the first inning. Hunter Atkins roped a double to left field for another run in the second.

Gus Shelton smacked an RBI single in the third. Two runs scored on Braylon Hayes’ double in the fourth.

“Thought we had some good at-bats,” Smith said.

A night earlier, Randleman won 12-0 in a home game ending in the fifth inning because of the mercy rule.

The trip to Mooresville, where Community School of Davidson plays some home games, marked the first game outside of Randleman for the Tigers in more than a month after nine consecutive home games.

Before the Tigers batted in the fifth, umpires called for a delay. The teams went to their respective buses and fans scattered.

“I was about to fall asleep,” Atkins, the third baseman, said of the wait.

Perhaps this qualifies as a little adversity for a team that hasn’t surrendered a run in any of its six games in the state playoffs. Game 1 of the West Region finals was postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday, so Way said it’s just a matter of being ready when game time arrives.

“We’re just playing one at a time,” he said. “We’re just taking it step by step and doing what we do.”

If No. 15 seed Community School of Davidson comes back to win Game 2, a third game would be scheduled for Saturday.

The West Region champion takes on Whiteville, which finished an East Region sweep of North Lenoir on Thursday, in the best-of-3 state finals beginning next Friday in either Burlington or Holly Springs.

By Bob Sutton