GREENSBORO--Making its first state championship appearance in program history, Mooresville started on the right foot Saturday.
Justin Poris pitched a complete game and the Blue Devils backed him with five unanswered runs to rally past Corinth Holders for a 5-2 victory in Game 1 of the 4A state championships series at UNC Greensboro.
"Getting that first one, that's the way we planned it," Mooresville coach Jeff Burchett said. "What a great effort."
The Blue Devils (23-9) have a chance to close out the series at 5 p.m. in Game 2. Game 3, if necessary, would be Sunday at a time yet to determined.
Poris walked back out to the mound in the bottom of the seventh to seal the series-opening win.
"It was his (game to finish)," Burchett said. "We had a lefty in the pen ready to come in if we needed it, though."
Poris struck out the first two batters in the seventh before yielding a single to the Pirates' Dalton Wood. It was of little consequence. He got pinch hitter Nic Earp to ground out to second baseman Trevor McHouell to end the game.
The senior right-hander threw 104 pitches, allowed no walks and only six hits. He struck out five. Mooresville played error-free defense behind him.
Corinth Holders (23-7) drew first blood. Tanner Smith led off the game with a double down the first base line. Losing pitcher Ty Cummings followed with an RBI single, and Nick Tyler's sacrifice fly made it 2-0 in favor of the Pirates.
"I talked to (Justin) after that first inning and said they're not getting anymore," Burchett said matter-of-factly. "And we're going to get you some runs."
Jackson Brant delivered the first hit of the game for the Blue Devils, leading off the top of the third with a single to left. After Cummings hit Blake Burchett with a pitch, Cameron Clonch and Davis Turner pieced together back-to-back RBI singles to even the score at 2.
Mooresville pulled ahead in the top of the fifth. McHouell scored from third on a wild pitch. Turner plated a run with his sacrifice fly, and Nick Merriman singled to drive in a run.
The deficit proved insurmountable for the Pirates, who squandered scoring opportunities in the second and third innings. Matt Kelley's one-out triple didn't lead to a run in the second. They also stranded Smith at third base in the bottom of the third. He led off with a single and advanced to second on a balk. Poris coaxed Corinth Holders into three straight groundouts to end the threat.
"That's what we've done the whole playoffs," Jeff Burchett said. "We've made plays, pitched out of jams, and trusted ourselves."