Forest, Harrison fuel Ellis win over North

Published 8:58 am Thursday, May 5, 2022

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The Ellis baseball team, getting four RBIs from Colin Harrison and lights-out pitching from Brandon Forest and reliever Ayden Sanders, won a big rematch with North Davie.

Before the Wildcats traveled to Ellis, they tore through Summit and South Davie.

Noah Potts and Braxton Hunter each pitched two hitless innings, and Blake French, Hunter and Brady Marshall launched home runs as North won 11-4 at Summit on April 21. French’s big fly was a grand slam. Coach Trevor Gooch called second baseman Nathan Nuckols the defensive standout.

Six days later, the Wildcats mashed host South Davie 24-3 in four innings.

Pitchers Potts and Ian Patton were perfect in relief and Hunter and Patton both went 2-2. Marshall homered and walked three times. Defensive player of the game went to left fielder Bracken Byington.

Ellis 11, ND 1

Ellis avenged an earlier loss to North Davie and forced a tie for first place in the final regular-season game at Ellis on April 28.

Forest, a fearless sixth grader, held North to three hits and one unearned run over five innings. He offset five walks by striking out eight.

“I hated to take him out,” Ellis coach Mike Dinkins said. “I said: ‘Brandon, right now you feel like you’re Superman. But I’m taking care of your arm (after throwing 90 pitches).’”

Sanders took the ball from Forest and promptly struck out the side in the sixth.

Ellis got three hits from Ethan Dixon (two doubles), Harrison and Logan Allen. Sanders had two hits and a walk. Wesley Davis, Jacob Patton and Grayson Nifong each had one hit as Ellis mercy ruled North in six innings.

North’s offensive leader was Tanner Steinour, who went 2 for 3 with a double.

“We came out flat and never recovered,” Gooch said. “Hats off to Ellis, who hit the ball well up and down their lineup.”

Notes: In the regular season, North went 11-2-1 overall and 9-1 in the league. … Ellis is 8-4 overall, including a pair of one-run losses to Watauga. … There was a coin flip between Ellis and North to determine the No. 1 seed for this week’s conference tournament. Ellis won the flip.