Granville County

Shutout ends South Granville's baseball season

South Granville Vikings logo.
South Granville Vikings logo.

South Granville's bats were mostly silent but not for Edenton Holmes, which took a 5-0 victory over the Vikings to wrap up their best-of-3 N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A baseball series in a sweep on Friday night.

It was a rematch of last season's East finals in which South Granville prevailed. But Holmes made sure there would not be a third straight trip to the state championship series for the Vikings.

First-year coach Jeff Tate said it was a disappointing end to a great season that held so much promise. The Vikings finished 25-5, losing their final two games. The first game of the series at South Granville on Thursday saw Holmes win 3-1 to break the Vikings' 45-game home winning streak.

"We knew they were a good team and they pitched well against us in both games," Tate said. "We probably should have won the game (Thursday) night and they beat us tonight and we would have been back home playing. But it just didn't work out that way.

Patrick Downum, the hero of Game 1 with the game-winning two-run home run in the eighth inning for Holmes, took the mound for the Aces and kept South Granville off balance the whole game.

The Vikings got six hits but also hit into a pair of momentum-killing double plays. Leadoff hitter Justin Bullock had a pair of singles to lead the Vikings, while Holden Laws got the only extra-base hit for South Granville when he doubled in the top of the seventh.

Bullock said it was a matter of the ball falling the way of Holmes this year.

"They were a young team last year and they came back this year," Bullock said. "The balls fell our way last year. This year, the ball fell their way. We played a good first game. It was 1-1 to the eighth and we gave up a big hit and that was it. Tonight they played better than us."

Holmes got nine hits off South Granville starter Holden Laws, including five doubles. They took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. It stayed that way until the fifth inning when the Aces added two more.

"Holden gutted it out," Tate said. "We felt like we had to keep riding him because if we had won the game we had to have guys ready to throw in Game 3."

"They were very aggressive. The thing about it, Holden got ahead and on four of their hits they were either 0-2 or 1-2 pitches. They had a great two-strike approach. He got ahead, which is what we wanted him to do, but they put the ball in play with two strikes. That's just good baseball."

South Granville's best chance to break onto the scoreboard came in the third inning when they loaded the bases with one out. The Vikings weren't able to score as Clay Walters popped out to short and Luke Bradshaw struck out looking for the third out.

"We got down 2-0 and that stopped us from taking the chances we normally take," Tate said. "We kept getting to the brink of making something happen with runners on and we just didn't come up with the hit.

"Early in the year, we got those hits. But down the stretch it seems like we hit it well. Or if we hit it well, it was right at people."

South Granville loses five seniors, including Bullock, Walters, Chase Preddy, Stephen Staton and Josh Bullock.

"We've got a good group coming back," Tate said. "Hopefully, they'll work hard in the offseason and can get back here."

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6889, @HPreps