Nationally ranked Providence rallies past West Forsyth, into NCHSAA regional finals

·3 min read
JEFF SINER/jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Providence High School’s state championship dream is still alive.

The nationally ranked Panthers, No. 3 in America, rallied from two runs down to beat West Forsyth 3-2 in the N.C. 4A quarterfinals. The Panthers will play Skyland’s Roberson High in next week’s regional championship, which will be a best-of-3 series.

The Panthers got there in dramatic fashion.

With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Providence coach Danny Hignight inserted senior Jackson Warfield to pinch-run at first after a walk opened the inning.

Two pitches later Warfield sprinted around to score all the way from first on an errant pick-off attempt to score the game winning run.

For Providence, it proved that they could win in a game where they were severely threatened as they fell behind 2-0 before their first at-bats.

The Panthers scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings, the last on a wild pitch that scored David Garfinkle and gave Providence a 3-2 lead.

West Forsyth answered in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Camdyn Daly to tie the score, leading to the late-inning dramatics.

Warfield pinch-ran for Ryan Bloomingburg who walked to lead off the sixth. West Forsyth reliever Reid Withers’ pick-off threw went high and into the right field bullpen. That allowed Warfield scored all the way from first, just beating the tag attempt.

In the top of the seventh, West Forsyth threatened as Patrick Showers led off with a single and made his way to third base with two outs. Catcher Lucas Manning hit a shot back up the middle but reliever Collin McDougal made a great stop and threw to first to seal the victory.

THEY SAID IT

“When the throw went past me I just started running,” said Warfield, who will play next season. “I didn’t really think about scoring until I rounded second and saw the third base coach waving me around. We’ve worked so hard to get this far and it felt great to be able to help us get a big win.”

RECORDS

Providence improves to 31-0 on the season while West Forsyth’s season ends at 25-6.

THREE WHO MATTERED

Collin McDougal, Providence: Wingate signee went 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored and pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief to get the win.

Ryan Bloomingburg, Providence: Went 1-for-2 with an RBI squeeze bunt and drew the leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth that led to the game-winning run.

Camdyn Daly, West Forsyth): Went 1-for-2 with a walk and 2 RBI for the Titans.

WHAT’S NEXT

Providence advances to the 4A semifinals and will host TC Roberson on Tuesday.

WORTH MENTIONING

Nerves were definitely a factor as both starting pitchers, who both are D1 commits, struggled with command. Providence’s Michael Forret (ECU) had two walks, two hit batters and a wild pitch in West Forsyth’s two-run first inning. Harrison Lewis (UNC) walked four, hit four and had two wild pitches for West Forsyth.

Providence has played a handful of close games in their 31 wins, but this was just their third one-run game and their first since a 3-2 win over Alexander Central on April 27th.

PHOTOS: West Forsyth at Providence

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