West Davidson’s Jacob Gobble laced an RBI double into the left field corner in the top of the sixth inning to plate Derrick Hardin for the go-ahead run Thursday in the Green Dragons’ 3-2 victory over East Davidson in the Central Carolina 2-A tournament championship game at Feezor Field.
“Rhodes is a fastball pitcher and Gobble’s a fastball hitter,” Dragons coach Jerry Walser said. “I felt like if he got a good pitch to hit, he would.”
West (15-8) benefited from a strong outing by Chandler Simerson, who avenged a loss earlier in the week that gave East the No. 1 seed for the CCC tournament. In contrast to Simerson threw a complete game, scattering seven hits and two runs.
“Chandler probably didn’t pitch as well as he would’ve liked the other night at East,” Walser said. “The fact that he came back tonight in a big way…we’re real proud of him.”
Kelvin Pena drove in the game-tying run for East in the bottom of the fifth to knot the score at 2. The threat continued with runners at second and third with one out, but Simerson struck out Nathan Campbell in the ensuing at-bat and Pena was caught in a rundown to end the side.
Following Gobble’s go-ahead hit, Simerson struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth and closed things down in the seventh by getting Pena to ground out to shortstop.
“Chandler threw really well at the end of the game,” East coach Dan Tricarico said. “I wish I could tell you what was going on with us. You’re dealing with high school kids and sometimes they tighten up a little bit.
“But even in the last inning, we’re right there. If the ball goes through, the game’s tied. But that’s baseball.”
East starter Nick Williams pitched effectively through five innings, barring a two-run third inning that staked the eventual champion to an early lead. Kolton Hawks helped tie the game in the fifth when he reached on a single, stole second and scored on a single by Pena.
The Eagles (15-6) host Parkwood next week in the first round of the NCHSAA 2-A playoffs.