Charlotte Christian has done it again.

The Knights baseball team found themselves in a familiar position Saturday night, winning another NCISAA baseball title. It’s number 17.

The Knights won the best-of-three series with a two-game sweep over the Metrolina Christian Academy Warriors, winning Game 1 Friday night and the deciding game Saturday by identical scores of 7-3.

The state title was the 16th for head coach Greg Simmons in his 31st season leading Charlotte Christian.

“They were a great group of guys and they played hard,” Simmons said of the 2022 championship squad. “They had a mission that we wanted to accomplish. They were disciplined in what they did and in their business. We haven’t lost a home game all year and have had 30 wins. We had a great group of seniors and the leadership was amazing.

Saturday was a lot of heroes for Simmons.

Everett Harris and Tanner McCammon hit solo home runs for the Knights. First-year designated hitter John Lash had three RBIs going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a defenseman’s choice RBI.

For Metrolina Christian, sophomore receiver Will Brooks had two RBIs and designated lead hitter Harrison Bouthillette driving in the Warriors’ third inning.

“We had more than an amazing race and lots of fun,” said Metrolina Christian coach Darren Adams. “We had never been here before and it was a learning curve for us. We are going to build on our success, we have a lot of young people who are going to be hungry and we hope to be back.

The game started at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, but had to be stopped three innings due to lightning. At 3:30 p.m., it was decided to postpone the match and resume it at 6:30 p.m., after the bad weather left the area.

Following the lightning and rain delay, both teams used new pitchers. The Warriors replaced starter Oliver Adams with Brady Halstead while Charlotte Christian brought in Ryan O’Rourke for starter Wesley Jones.

Charlotte Christian charged the bases in the top of the first inning. With two out, Lash lined up a single down the middle scoring two, and the Knights lead 2-0.

The Warriors responded quickly as Tommy Miller and Neil Griffin each scored a single to open half of Metrolina’s first inning. With one out, Brooks doubled just inside the left field line scoring a pair to tie the game at 2-2.

Charlotte quickly regained the lead in the second inning as Utermark doubled home DJ Layton who hit a one-out single, and the Knights were back with a 3-2 lead he wouldn’t give up.

Three who made the difference

Judd Utermark, Charlotte Christian: The senior infielder and pitcher went 2-for-2 with an RBI double and a single, while throwing the final two outs of the seventh inning to earn the stoppage. He hit his 18th homer of the year, a new school record, in Game 1 of the series.

Will Brooks, Metrolina Christian: The sophomore wide receiver hit in two of the Warriors’ three-pointers with an RBI brace.

Tanner McCammon, Charlotte Christian: The junior shortstop went 2 for 4 with a solo home run and a single.

To note

Charlotte Christian’s college commitments include: Judd Utermark, Ole Miss; Calvert Clark, Clemson; Ryan O’Rourke, University of Pittsburgh; Everette Harris, North Carolina State; Wesley Jones, Charlotte 49ers; and Tanner McCammon, Elon. Knights left fielder Jakeman Pendleton has committed to Furman to play football.

Charlotte Christian scored runs in each of the first three sets.

The Knights could have scored more runs in the first and second innings, but suffered several untimely base-running errors. In the first inning, Utermark was taken down at home plate trying to score from third base on a ground fly at shortstop. In the second, Utermark found himself in a rundown at second base and was tagged out, and Calvert Clark was pulled out at first base after hitting an error.

They said it

“I’ve been on this varsity team for three years and love them all like family. We went through a lot of adversity this year, then two years ago with Covid, and seeing how we all worked through that was just awesome. — Charlotte Christian’s Everette Harris on her three-year career with the Knights.

RECORDS: Metrolina Christian (19-8, 7-3), Charlotte Christian (30-3, 10-0)

PICS: Metrolina Christian vs. Charlotte Christian

This story was originally published May 21, 2022 10:50 p.m.

Langston Wertz Jr. is an award-winning sportswriter who has worked at The Observer since 1988. He’s covered everything from the Final Fours and the NFL to video games and Britney Spears. Wertz — a graduate of West Charlotte High and UNC — is the rare person who can answer “Charlotte” when you ask, “What city are you from.”
Support my work with a digital subscription

Source link