Senior pitcher Stihl Sowers fired a three-hit shutout and helped his own cause with a two-run homer to lead defending state champion North Lenoir to a 4-0 triumph over East Rutherford on Friday night in the opening game of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 2-A baseball championship series at Doak Field on the N.C. State campus.
Sowers, who was the MVP of the 2006 championship series, blasted his two-run shot in the opening inning and then kept the powerful East Rutherford attack at bay. The Cavaliers had entered the game with a
team batting average of .408.
Sowers fanned eight in picking up his seventh win of the year against no losses and carried a no-hitter into the fifth.
Cullen Park and Daniel Goodnight each had singles in that frame for the Cavaliers, but Sowers pitched out of trouble. Zeke Blanton had the only other East Rutherford hit.
Ryan Leach went the distance on the mound for East and was charged with the loss, allowing just three hits and fanning five.
East Rutherford dropped to 29-2 overall and the Cavaliers had a 16-game winning streak snapped. Sowers also ended the East streak of
scoring at least 10 runs a game at seven. North Lenoir is now 28-3 and won its 10th straight.
Game two in the series is Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. If necessary, game three would be played at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, or at 5 p.m. if a third game is not necessary in the 3-A series also being played at Doak Field.