Errors doom Voyager in state 1-A semifinal series opener
When a change in the NCHSAA 1-A Eastern Regional schedule gave Midway the home opener Friday, coach Jason Fussell didn’t want his team to waste it.
“If they’re going to let you start the series with a home game, you better win it,” Fussell said.
The Raiders (25-3) did just that, beating Voyager Academy (21-5) 5-1 to take Game 1 in the best-of-three series.
Midway, the top seed from the Tri-County Conference, was supposed to travel to Southern High School Friday night to face the Vikings, who had seeding priority as the No. 1 team from the Carolina 12.
But wet field conditions at Southern prompted a location swap. Voyager will host Game 2 today at Southern at 7 p.m. and, if necessary, Game 3 on Monday — also at 7, also at Southern.
Junior pitcher Taylor Calcutt threw a complete game, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out six. Voyager starter Loy Stone (8-3) who’s been battling through a sore arm, kept the Vikings in it — being tagged for two unearned runs — until giving up three runs in the last of the sixth, Voyager trailing at the time 2-1.
“I did a better job on the mound tonight,” Calcutt said. “I had a few more strikeouts than I usually do and a lot of ground balls and fly balls.”
The Raiders opened the scoring in the bottom of the second.
Matt Barefoot took a one-out walk and was bunted over by Jason Wrench. Barefoot scored from second when Tyler Pope’s grounder to third was thrown away by the Vikings’ Caleb Trueheart, a freshman third baseman who committed three of usually sure-handed Voyager’s uncharacteristic six errors on the night.
The Raiders scored a second unearned run in the fifth to take a 2-0 lead.
The Vikings’ defense committed at least one error in every inning except the sixth when the Raiders’ bats finally came to life.
Voyager cut Midway’s lead to 2-1 with a run on two hits in the top of the sixth.
It was the only inning in which Calcutt gave up more than one hit.
“Taylor did a fantastic job tonight,” Fussell said. “He kept the ball low. He only threw two baseballs up in the zone, and that’s what hurt him. That’s how they scored their one run.”
Pope led off the bottom of the sixth and reached when he was hit by a pitch by Stone.
Stone loaded the bases with back-to-back walks to Calcutt and Heath Smith, and Kyle Hawley’s sacrifice fly sent Pope home.
Cody Baker singled home Calcutt and Smith on a hard shot to right-center field to give the Raiders a 5-1 lead.
Calcutt finished off the Vikings by retiring the side in order for the only time in the game.
Midway 5, Voyager 1
Voyager 000 001 0 — 1 6 6
Midway 010 013 x — 5 2 2
Voyager, Loy Stone and Hunter Coates; Midway, Calcutt and Hawley. W — Calcutt. L — Stone (8-3). Leading hitters — Voyager, Stone 2-3 (RBI), Kiki Kornegay 1-2; Midway, Baker 1-4 (2 RBI). Barefoot 1-2.
Records — Voyager Academy 21-5, Midway 25-3.