05/18/04 — Gators take first playoff step

View Archive

Gators take first playoff step

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 18, 2004 1:56 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Michael Sigmon couldn't have written a better script for Spring Creek's first-ever appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A baseball playoffs.

He couldn't have penned a better ending, either.

Sigmon yielded one hit in a complete-game effort as the Gators eliminated Midway 2-0 in their opening-round postseason battle Monday evening.

Spring Creek, the Carolina Conference champion, opposes either state-ranked Wallace-Rose Hill or South Brunswick in a second-round contest Friday. The game time and site is undetermined.

Midway finished the year 8-12-1.

Familiarity factored into the outcome. The Gators (16-9) swept the regular-season series against the Raiders, but didn't look forward to facing them again. Midway, the No. 3 seed from the Super Six Conference, had improved greatly and gave Wallace-Rose Hill fits in last week's conference tournament.

"The scouting reports said they really can't hit the outside pitch," Sigmon said. "We started them away and then came back in on their hands a little bit. My fastball worked real well and my slider was breaking good.

"With two strikes deep in the count, the breaking stuff they really couldn't hit that good."

Sigmon (6-0) stayed ahead in the count all evening and walked just one batter. The senior right-hander collected 12 strikeouts and retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced. Midway catcher Michael Hudson foiled Sigmon's no-hit bid with a one-out single in the sixth.

Sigmon allowed just four fly balls and forced three pop-ups -- all in foul territory. Catcher Jed Potter led the defense with 13 putouts and one assist, while first baseman Blake Thompson contributed three putouts.

"I had confidence in my team and myself," said Sigmon, who recorded the pitching staff's first shutout of the season. "I felt good the whole time and I still feel good right now."

Spring Creek, however, struggled to generate offense.

The Gators used three sacrifice bunts and three walks, and stole two bases to move runners into scoring position. But they batted just 1-for-8 with those runners -- a total of six -- aboard.

Thompson picked up the team's lone RBI, a single to plate Josh Lewis in the second. The Raiders committed a two-out infield error in the sixth which allowed Jeff Kincaid, Sigmon's courtesy runner, to score from second.

Thompson, Jes Snyder, Lewis and Sigmon each provided one hit.

"We're going to have to do a better job if we want to go further in the playoffs," Gators assistant coach Matt Bryan said of the team's sluggish offensive performance. "If we can't hit, we're going to bunt. You've got to put it in play and see what happens.

"Maybe they'll boot it around."

Midway left three runners on base and Hudson represented the game-tying run in the sixth. Josh Andrade sacrificed Hudson to second, but Sigmon struck out Josh Crumpler to end the threat. He hurled a perfect seventh and threw a total of 98 pitches on the night.

Sigmon notched eight strikeouts against the Raiders' last four hitters, who were a combined 0-for-9 in the game.

"He hit his spots and kept them off speed," Bryan said of Sigmon. "We needed somebody to step it up and be a leader. He did a good job of that."

2004 N.C. High School

Athletic Association

Class 1-A Baseball Playoffs

(at Spring Creek HS)

Midway 000 000 0 -- 0 1 2

Spring Creek 010 001 x -- 2 4 1

Leading hitters -- Spring Creek -- Jes Snyder 1-2; Michael Sigmon 1-2; Josh Lewis 1-2; Blake Thompson 1-3, RBI. Midway -- Michael Hudson 1-3.

LOB -- Spring Creek 6, Midway 3. SB -- Sites, Snyder. SH -- Andrade, Lewis, Amos (2). CS -- B. Thompson.



Andrade (L) 6 4 2 1 3 6

Spring Creek

Sigmon (W, 6-0)7 1 0 0 1 12

HBP -- J. Strickland (by Sigmon), Sites (by Andrade).