06/01/12 — Golden Falcons must play consistent

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Golden Falcons must play consistent

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 1, 2012 1:49 PM

ZEBULON -- The field dimensions haven't changed.

The bases are 90 feet apart.

The pitcher's mound is 60 feet, 6 inches from the plate..

The only difference has been the opponent.

Charles B. Aycock takes the baseball diamond for the 31st time this season today at Five County Stadium, but the stakes are a little higher. The Golden Falcons face Weddington in the 2012 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state championship series. First pitch is 5 p.m.

Game 2 in the best-of-three matchup is Saturday at 11 a.m. A third game, if necessary, is set for 5 p.m.

Aycock (21-9 overall) is making its third appearance in the state finals after winning championships in 1974 and 2007. Weddington (26-6), the Southern Carolina Conference runner-up, is here for the first time.

"I felt like all year long we had the capability," Golden Falcons' head coach Charles Davis said. "With no dominant team in the East this year, I felt like a lot of times if you can get through that first-round game, that would be your toughest round."

The Golden Falcons upended D.H. Conley -- the first of three No. 1 seeds they eliminated on the way to Zebulon -- by a 5-3 margin. Since then, they've continued to play with confidence and have dropped just one postseason game in their last six outings.

Davis hasn't scrounged up much information on the Warriors, who have outscored the opposition 47-7 in the postseason. Weddington swept North Buncombe by a combined score of 22-2 in the Western regional championship series.

Junior pitcher Alex Bostic, senior catcher Andrew Knight and junior first baseman Jeremy Schellhorn hopes to lead Weddington to its first-ever state title. Bostic is 10-0 on the mound with a sterling 0.98 earned run average and 125 strikeouts. He's batting .404 with 28 RBI and seven home runs.

"I know they're good and they have a couple of good pitchers," Davis said. "Judging by their scores in the playoffs, they swing the bats pretty good. We're not going to change what we do. Hopefully we'll pitch well, play good defense and get a timely hit.

"For the most part, we've been able to do that. We're certainly not going to intimidate anybody with our offensive prowess."

Aycock bats .259 as a team. Junior utility player Adam Pate is hitting .355, while shortstop Cameron Taylor is batting .319. The duo has combined for 62 hits, 36 RBI and four home runs. Pate leads the team with 25 stolen bases in 26 attempts.

Senior Collin DuBose leads the pitching staff with a 6-0 record and 0.69 ERA. Three of those victories have come in the postseason. Senior southpaw Bryant Stafford is 5-3 with a 1.86 ERA, while Taylor is 2-2 with a 1.18 ERA.

The Golden Falcons' seven-man crew has a team ERA of 1.73.

"We just have to get out there, play to our capabilities and if we do that, we'll have a good series," Davis said.

Western teams have won the last three state championships and eight overall since 2000.