A three-run third inning for West Stokes was the difference in the game against Ashe County in the first round of the NCHSAA 2A State Playoffs. The Wildcats beat the Huskies on Wednesday, 4-0.
Ashe’s season ended with a 9-12 overall record, but qualifying for the playoffs meant a whole lot to this team.
“At the beginning of the year, people in the community would ask me what kind of team I would have and I would tell them that they are a playoff team this year, and it showed,” said Ashe County Head Coach Ronnie Pruitt. “These kids had it down as one of their goals at the beginning of the season to make the playoffs.”
Jake Washer’s RBI double in the bottom of the third put the Wildcats on the board. Junior Snow brought Washer in with a single and then Gavin Goodson scored Snow on a single to right.
The Wildcats added one more run in the bottom of the fifth with a home run blast to center field.
Ashe’s lone hit came from senior center fielder Joe Richardson in the top of the third inning.
Jacob Craver got the win for West Stokes, tossing a complete game and striking out 12 Husky batters.
Joseph Lowder pitched a complete game and gave up four runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts.
West Stokes advanced on to the second round against West Stanly on Saturday, but were upset at home, 4-3.
Coach Pruitt continued his praise for the team even if the season did not end how they wanted.
“I am proud of each and every player that is a part of this team. They all worked hard and it truly paid off for them this year,” Pruitt said. “This team was a lot of fun to coach, they would all play hard and they never gave up. They wanted to get better and their competitive drive was a lot of fun to be around.
“It sure was nice to be part of such a special group of kids and I am so glad that I could be their coach. It is truly and honor and a privilege to coach these young men,” added Pruitt. “They will all grow up to be productive citizens and they will be outstanding people in the future.”
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @NathanHam87