To say the South Rowan Raiders were resilient throughout this weekend’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A baseball state championship series would be a huge understatement.
Already down one game to none to South Brunswick in the best of three series, South Rowan found itself on the brink of elimination as it trailed 2-0 in the first inning of the second game, Saturday afternoon at Ting Stadium in Holly Springs.
The Raiders, however, rallied for a 4-2 victory, before rallying from deficits of 5-0 and 6-1 in the third game of the series to win, 11-6, and capture the first state championship, in any team sport, in school history.
The final run to a state title began in the fourth inning of the third game when Nathan Chrismon delivered a bases loaded hit which scored a pair of runs and pulled the Raiders within two at 6-4. South Rowan got a little help in the fourth inning when it scored on a balk and a wild pitch to tie the game at six.
The go-ahead run was scored by Haiden Leffew, in the fifth, also on a wild pitch, just ahead of a two-run single by Colton Fisher which pushed South Rowan’s lead to 9-6. The final two runs also scored in the fifth on a two-run error.
The Raiders (30-6) then put the game in the hands of junior pitcher Cole Thomas who worked through the final two innings without allowing a run and clinching the state championship.
Starter Chandler Oddie earned the win, going the first five innings, blanking the Cougars over his final two frames after struggling in the early going.