KINSTON — The clad of Midway blue was getting ready for something big to happen. Their team was trailing 2-0 in game two of the Eastern Championship heading into the top of the fifth inning, and then, something big did happen. Troy Spell led the inning off with a double, sparking what would be the game-winning rally.
Taylor Calcutt singled to center-field after Cody Baker walked, scoring Spell, and Midway was on the board, but still trailed by a run. The next batter, Kyle Hawley who had been heckled by the home-town crowd at North Lenoir, then slapped a three-run homer over the left-field fence, giving Midway a 4-2 lead and a lot of momentum.
North Lenoir went down without much of a fight in the fifth and sixth, but with Midway holding a two run lead in the bottom of the seventh and their season on the line, the Hawks loaded the bases. After the first batter of the seventh flew out to Luke Clark at first base, two consecutive batters reached on infield singles. Matt Barefoot, who had been breezing through the North Lenoir lineup up until this point, then walked the next batter. The bases were loaded with one out. A base hit for North Lenoir would more than likely tie the game, and a double would win it. Barefoot had other plans for the Raiders.
Barefoot struck out the next two batters by firing fastball after fastball into Kyle Hawley’s mitt. The second strikeout of the inning, and Barefoot’s fifth strikeout in two innings earned him the save and earned Midway their second consecutive trip to the State Championship series. Midway competed last year as a 1A team, and will return as a 2A team this time.
Taylor Calcutt was the winning pitcher for Midway in the series clincher. Calcutt allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings. He walked two batters and struck out three. He had a big inning in the bottom of the fifth, his last inning pitching as he was able to keep momentum on Midway’s side.
“It feels good. I’m not going to get too crazy yet, because we’ve been here before and we have business to take care of,” said Midway’s coach Jason Fussell. “Matt was really big for us. He’s getting back to close to where he was before he broke his hand earlier this year. He’s not completely back, but he’s getting close, and he was really big for us. Kyle’s home-run really took a lot of pressure off of our team too,” finished Fussell.
Midway was led offensively by Hawley with the three-run shot; Calcutt who was 2-3 with an RBI, and Troy Spell with a double.
Midway is in the three game series now for the State Championship. These games will be played June 6th and 7th, which is a week from Friday and Saturday. It is unclear as to where the games will be played. The game times and locations will be determined Tuesday.