Midway is back in the State Championship series after winning six consecutive playoff games in a very difficult region. The Raiders defeated North Lenoir in game two of the Eastern Championship to claim the title and a State Championship berth. Midway’s road to the championship includes wins over Dixon, Fairmont, North Brunswick, Randleman, and North Lenoir. The final four teams that Midway faced were all number one seeds.
This is Midway’s second consecutive Eastern Championship and berth in the State Championship series. Last year, the Raiders lost the series 2 games to 1 to a very talented South Stanley team, who was the previous year’s champion as well. Midway lost game one, won game two, then fell short in an offensive explosion by both teams in a 14-12 loss in the rubber match of the series. Cody Baker sent a deep fly ball into left-field with two on and two outs in the seventh inning of that game three. The South Stanley left-fielder made a great catch, clinching the championship for his team. Midway hopes to turn the result from last year around, and earn their first State Championship since 1981.
Coach Jason Fussell of Midway said he would not approach this year’s championship series any different than last year’s. “We faced a great South Stanley team last year that had been there before, and this year we’re going to be the team that’s been there before.” Midway will face Bunker Hill in the series. This will be Bunker Hill’s first ever appearance in the state final. Bunker Hill defeated East Davidson 12-2 in game one and 8-1 in game two of the Western Championship.
Bunker Hill is 26-5 on the season, compared to Midway’s 26-3 mark. Midway is hitting .347 as a team with a team earned run average at 1.27.
When asked how he feels his team has improved throughout the season, he said that the juniors on his have really grown. “Drake Strickland has been able to play shortstop and second base on a regular basis this year, which is very beneficial when Taylor (Calcutt) is pitching. Matt Barefoot’s pitching has really been big for us this year, and Tyler Pope has been able to play right field or third base, wherever we need him, and Ryan Lee has been good on the mound for us this year,” said Fussell. He also mentioned how the versatility of Troy Spell has helped the Raiders, saying that Spell has made great adjustments to be able to play third base, short-stop, second base, or anywhere in the out-field.
Midway will face Bunker Hill next Friday and Saturday for all the marbles. The game’s location is yet to be determined, yet there are many inclinations that it will again be played at Grasshopper Stadium in Greensboro.
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