Hardison leads Midway past JM, into round four

Raider pitcher Dylan Hardison throws a pitch during Tuesday’s game. Hardison struck out 17 in the 6-0 win.

Raider centerfielder Matt Barefoot gets a lead off of first base before swiping second during Tuesday night’s win over the Jordan Matthews Jets.

The Midway Raiders defeated Jordan Matthews in round three of the NCHSAA State Playoffs in the 2A ranks on Tuesday night under their home-field lights. Midway won the game 6-0 to advance to round four.

Dylan Hardison was sensational on the mound for the Raiders. The left-handed ace struck out 17 batters en route to the shutout. He allowed just one hit and two base-runners the entire night in a dominating performance.

Midway jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Matt Barefoot singled to right-center, followed by a Wesley Johnson walk. After the runners each advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch, Tyler Pope hit a 2-RBI double to give Midway their first lead. Pope would advance to third on a passed ball, then score on a wild pitch later to give Midway the early 3-0 cushion.

There would be nothing much doing for either team in the next few innings. The Raiders had the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the third, but was unable to scratch anything out of it.

Midway would get the insurance runs they had been looking for in the sixth inning. Matt Barefoot singled to start the inning, followed by a Wesley Johnson triple down the right-field line. Kyle Hawley, the ensuing Raider batter, scored Johnson a few pitches later on a sac fly. After Tyler Pope reached base on a walk, and stole a few bases, Landon Dorman singled to left-field to give Midway their final 6-0 margin of victory.

“It was a good win for us,” said Midway’s head coach, Jason Fussell. “We got a great performance from Dylan tonight on the hill and I thought that the balls that they did put in play, we played them well.”

Midway is now slated to play Fairmont, in Spivey’s Corner, on Friday with a trip to the regional finals on the line. The two teams met last year in a 3 hit, 1 run total game, in which Midway won 1-0, at Fairmont in round 2 of the state playoffs. “They are a really good team,” said Fussell. “They have really good pitching and I know that they will have their best two pitcher available against us. The catcher is a freshman and he has done a really good job for them behind the plate this year. They are a really good, well-coached team, and we need to be ready to play well,” finished Coach Fussell.

The game is set for 7 p.m.