Prep Baseball: NW Cabarrus 2, Carson 0
By Bill Kiser
KANNAPOLIS ó With less than two weeks to go, the pressure’s on Carson’s players to step up and win games if they want to make it to the playoffs.
Well, the pressure increased after the Cougars dropped a 2-0 North Piedmont Conference loss to Northwest Cabarrus on Wednesday night.
Senior Ryan Overcash hurled a three-hit shutout for the Trojans (14-8, 10-6), who moved into a tie with South Rowan for third in the league standings.
Even better for Northwest, it virtually locked up no worse than a No. 4 seed out of the sixth berths the NPC has in the 3A state playoffs, which begin May 9.
And Carson? The loss ó which dropped its record to 8-13, 6-10 ó puts the Cougars in a position where they have to win their last two games to even have a shot at getting that sixth and final playoff spot.
“I told the guys all we can do now is win our last two,” Carson head coach Chris Cauble said. “If we do that, then we can look up and see if we got that last playoff spot or not.”
The Cougars still have a chance ó their last two games are against Statesville (at home Friday) and West Iredell (at West on May 5), who reside at the bottom of the conference standings.
“We’ve got to take care of business, and whatever happens will happen,” Cauble said. “We put ourselves in this spot, and now we’ve got to win out and see what happens.”
Carson was put in that spot thanks to the play of Overcash, who struck out 11 in running his record this season to 7-1. The Davidson signee also had two of Northwest’s six hits, including a key RBI single in the fourth inning.
“That’s the way he’s thrown the ball all year long,” Trojans head coach Joe Hubbard said. “He got ahead of batters, shows the curveball and the changeup … you can’t ask him to do any more than he did tonight.”
Carson also got a quality pitching performance from starter Randy Shepherd, who struck out six and held Northwest to four hits in five innings.
However, the Trojans got on the scoreboard early, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning when Ryan Lazenby scored on Cameron Park’s throwing error to third.
Northwest then tacked on an insurance run in the fourth off Overcash’s two-out single to right field, which drove in Matt Mariano.
“When you can put a little bit of pressure on the other team by scoring first, it helps out a whole lot,” Hubbard said. “Shepherd did a great job … but we got that throwaway run in the first, then Matt got that big hit in the fourth.”
NOTES: All three of Carson’s hits off Overcash were doubles. Jeremy Mullis drove a two-bagger down the right-field line in the second inning, Scott Ashby pulled one down the third-base line in the fifth, and Shepherd did the same in the sixth.