Durham County

Voyager top Granville Central in baseball playoffs

Voyager Academy's Chase Sykes (2) is safe at second base as he collides with Granville Central shortstop J.J. Tilley and Panthers teammate Carson Yancey awaits the ball on Monday, May 15, 2017 in Voyager's 5-0 win in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs.
Voyager Academy's Chase Sykes (2) is safe at second base as he collides with Granville Central shortstop J.J. Tilley and Panthers teammate Carson Yancey awaits the ball on Monday, May 15, 2017 in Voyager's 5-0 win in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs.

Junior pitcher Chase Sykes kept the streak alive for Voyager Academy as the Vikings got their fifth shutout win in a row with a 5-0 victory over Granville Central in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs on Monday night.

"We're pitching and playing great defense," Voyager coach Pete Shankle said. "We're not hitting like I want but to get all these shutouts in a row and that's thanks to the pitching and the defense."

Sykes went the distance, holding Granville Central to four hits and striking out seven batters to send Voyager (16-5) into the third round at Perquimans on Tuesday.

Voyager scored a run in each of the first two innings and then put three on the scoreboard in the third thanks to a three-run homerun by first baseman Aaron Beasley.

"Hopefully, we can keep it up," Beasley said. "The competition is going to get tougher. The first playoff game we won by 10. This one we won by five. The next one will probably be closer."

Sykes had more than enough of a cushion to pitch the Vikings to victory.

"It's good to move on," Sykes said. "Winning is our main goal now. It really helped to have those runs to start."

Granville Central coach Barry Moore said Sykes didn't give his team many good opportunities to get their offense going.

"There weren't many and when we did, we didn't take advantage of them," Moore said. "We had a couple of miscues and some missed signals.

Beasley finished 3 for 3 to lead Voyager at the plate but he was the only player with multiple hits for the Vikings, who had six in the game.

Shankle said hitting is the one area he'd like to see his team shore up going forward in the playoffs.

I'm pleased with how we're playing," Shankle said. "I wish we were hitting a little better but defensively, we're very good and we're where we want to be."

Granville Central wrapped up its season 12-10 but Moore said his team was a much better team in the last half of the season then it was at the beginning of the year. The Panthers were 10-2 in their conference games.

"Our last six games, I am more proud of them than I was for the first six games," Moore said. "We're a lot different team now than we were. The young guys we had playing, the freshmen and sophomores, are no longer freshmen and sophomores. We have a lot to build on for next year."

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6889, @HPreps

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