The Midway Nine is headed to the third round of the state playoffs in the NCHSAA 2A ranks following a 4-1 win over visiting North Pitt on Saturday night in Raider Country.
Matt Barefoot was sensational at all rates on Saturday. The Raider lefty threw a complete game in earning the win, allowing one run on 4 hits and 3 walks, and striking out 14 batters. Yep. You read it right. 14.
The biggest strikeouts of the night seemingly came in the top of the third inning in a scoreless game. After a walk and an error by Midway, North Pitt had runners on second and third with no outs. Barefoot promptly sat down the next two batters via punch-outs, and jammed the ensuing batter on the inner part of the plate to get a fly ball to shortstop, which Drake Strickland squeezed for the third out. Getting out of that jam without allowing any runs all but broke the backs of North Pitt, in a game that was still locked at nothing apiece.
Barefoot was the lead-off batter in the Raider half of inning number three. Just as he broke the Panthers’ hearts in the previous half inning, he did it again in this one, this time with his bat. The Campbell signee sent a homer over the centerfield fence to break the tie.
Midway would score again in the next half inning when Barefoot got an RBI single with 2 outs in the fourth.
MHS led 2-0 entering the bottom of the fifth. With the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, Midway’s Strickland slapped a ball back up the middle. The shortstop was late getting to the ball, forcing a throwing error, which allowed Dylan Hardison and Tyler Pope to cross the plate safely.
North Pitt wouldn’t score their run until the top of the seventh. With one out and two on, a shot down the leftfield line would score a run. But that would be it. Barefoot struck out the next batter for his 14th punch-out of the ball game, and got the next one to hit a fly-ball to right-centerfield that Hardison would make a nice play on, ranging to his left, for the final out of the game.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we would have liked to tonight, but we got enough to win the ball game. It was a great performance by Matt and the defense behind him,” said Midway’s head coach Jason Fussell. “Matt has been in big situations before, so we trusted him with the ball. We were only going to throw him about 70 pitches or so tonight and then go with Dylan, but he was throwing it so well and hitting the inside corner spot really well, so we just decided we would keep riding him,” finished the Raider head coach.
Midway is now 20-2 on the year and headed to round three. They are set to host Jordan Matthews on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at MHS.