Whiteville ends Voyager playoff run in 1-A quarterfinals
Voyager Academy had won 10 straight baseball games, but the Vikings’ high-powered offense got derailed in a 5-0 Friday night loss to Whiteville in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs in front of a full house at Duke University’s Jack Coombs Field.
The win sends the Wolfpack to the East Regional championships next week, while Voyager’s season ends in disappointing fashion with eight seniors saying goodbye.
Whiteville freshman pitcher MacKenzie Gore was outstanding, giving up just one hit and striking out eight.
“He owned us all night,” said Voyager coach Pete Shankle, who was looking to return to the East Regional for the second time in three seasons. “He did a wonderful job and is a great young man. He was the difference maker.”
Voyager advanced to a state 1-A championship showdown with South Stanly at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in its first season of varsity ball three years ago.
The Wolfpack got the only score they would need in the third inning. Geraldo Maggioli singled and stole second. After a groundout sent him to third, Hunter Cartrette’s grounder pushed him home.
Whiteville had a chance to increase its lead in the fourth with one out and men on first and second, but starting pitcher Caleb Trueheart struck out Grayson Ward and got Turner Brown to ground out. Trueheart gave up two hits and one run in 5-1/2 innings before being relieved by senior Chad Sykes.
“We felt our chances were still good being down only one run,” Shankle said.
But the lid blew off for the Vikings in the top of the seventh, as the Wolfpack scored four runs, including a two-run home run by Zach Pait that easily cleared 325 feet.
That just left Gore to finish out the game, which he did with three straight outs.
Whiteville coach Bret Harwood said he briefly considered relieving his 15-year-old starter.
“We looked at his pitch count, and when it got to the seventh inning I was ready to put someone in. But he said ‘I’m finishing this coach.’ He’s been good all season, and he was good again tonight against a very good Voyager team.”
Whiteville 5, Voyager Academy 0
Whiteville 001 000 4 — 5
Voyager 000 000 0 — 0
PITCHING — Whiteville, MacKenzie Gore (W). Voyager Academy, Caleb Truheart (L), Chad Sykes (5th).
LEADING HITTERS — Whiteville, Maggioli, 2-3, Harwood, 2-4, Pait 1-3 (HR). Voyager Academy, Trueheart 1-3.
Records — Whiteville 22-5, Voyager Academy 18-4.