05/31/07 — C.B. Aycock goes for second state title

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C.B. Aycock goes for second state title

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 31, 2007 1:48 PM

PIKEVILLE — In each of Charles Davis previous 16 years, the end of the season has always come too soon.

The Charles B. Aycock head coach would watch as opposing players and coaches celebrate, advancing to play another day, while his squad finished with disappointment.

Despite over 300 wins in the Aycock dugout and coaching plenty of talented teams, playing in the state finals has always proved elusive.

That is until this season.

Armed with two of the best pitchers in North Carolina, Davis has his Golden Falcons playing for their first state crown since 1974.

Aycock (29-4 overall) will take on Southeast Guilford (23-5) in a three-game series beginning on Friday at Doak Field on the campus of N.C. State.

"It's something we strive for every year," said Davis. "We're very fortunate to get there this year. We've had some very good teams in the past, but have come up short."

For the most part, Aycock cruised to the regional final where they faced a talented Northern Nash team.

After taking the first game, the Golden Falcons had their 23-game winning streak come to a screeching halt as Northern Nash blasted them 9-0 in Rocky Mount.

The loss served as a wake-up call for the team and meant Aycock would face the Knights in a decisive third game.

Behind a brilliant complete-game shutout from North Carolina signee Garrett Davis, Aycock prevailed 10-0.

"These kids play with pressure," said Davis. "When they know they've got the backs against the wall, they play well with the pressure on them."

Davis and N.C. State signee Grant Sasser -- who will start game one on Friday -- provide a 1-2 punch which makes Aycock extremely difficult to beat in a best-of-three series.

Added to that is the deep lineup the Golden Falcons throw at opposing pitchers. So far this season, their hitters have combined to hit 32 home runs -- Aycock's most in eight years.

Southeast Guilford will counter the Aycock lineup with the Mid-Piedmont player of the year -- right-hander Cam Cockman.

Cockman -- who throws a fastball clocked in the mid 80's -- will do his best to keep the Golden Falcons' bats in check.

Preparation is in full force for this weekend's series with little changing from the norm.

"It's worked for 29 wins so we aren't going to change anything," said Davis. "We're keeping as normal a practice routine as possible."

Davis' assistants -- Alan Thomas, Derek Matthews, Trevor Pilkington and Jon Horton -- have all played large roles in Aycock's success this season.

"We never would have made it here without them," said Davis. "I'm very fortunate to have four former guys on my staff."

It's those former players who Davis also credits with helping his Golden Falcons reach this upper echelon.

"The former players are a big part of our success we've had," said Davis. "They've all laid the ground work."

Since Saturday's victory, Davis has received numerous phone calls from former players congratulating the coach and his team on what they have accomplished.

"That means a lot and that's what you get into the coaching profession for, hoping you've had some influence on the athletes you've coached," said Davis. "That makes me feel good for them to think of us."

There is also peak excitement around the Aycock community with standing-room-only crowds cheering on Aycock during each home playoff game.

"The community support has been tremendous and we're looking for that same support this weekend," said Davis. "There's lots of excitement here."

Shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday, Davis and his Golden Falcons will finally be playing for another N.C. High School Athletic Association championship.

"Anytime you get into high school sports it's in everyone's mind to win one, one time," said Davis. "There are a lot of great coaches that never get that chance though. Personally, I've got a great group of kids and they've worked hard at this and so I couldn't be more pleased."