Lake Norman manufactured a thrilling comeback to defeat East Forsyth 4-3 in the first round of the 4A state baseball tournament.
Right-handed pitcher Carter Sheppard started for Lake Norman and pitched six innings, striking out seven and allowing three runs on six hits and a walk.
Trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Sheppard drove a double into right field. Cole Robbins then hit an RBI-single into right field to score the first Wildcat run. Ulrich drew a walk, Vance Anderson bunted to advance the runners, and Carson Arnold’s sacrifice fly brought Lake Norman within a run. To complete the comeback and capture the lead, Dylan Arment slammed a two-RBI double deep to left field putting Lake Norman ahead 4-3.
Kameron Evans pitched a complete game for East Forsyth, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks while recording two strikeouts.
After Sheppard retired nine of the first 10 Eagle batters, Danny Fish walked to lead the fourth inning. Jackson May then drove a shot deep to right field, but Wildcat right fielder Ulrich made an outstretched running grab on the warning track. Matt Rivers hit a single into right field placing two men on base, and Evans hit a ground ball into right field to score the game’s first run.
After Blake Youngblood reached base on an error to lead the fifth inning for East Forsyth, Parker Sobota hit a ground-ball single into right field. Xavier Isaac followed by driving a shot off the wall in left field, falling just shy of a home run but scoring both runners and giving East Forsyth a 3-0 lead. Evans retired each Wildcat batter in the bottom of the inning, forcing three consecutive fly outs for a three-up, three-down half inning.
Matt Rivers led the sixth inning continuing East Forsyth’s momentum, hitting a single into right field. Rivers reached second base on an errant throw to first base, placing a man in scoring position with no outs. But Sheppard responded by producing three consecutive outs including two strikeouts to keep the Wildcats within three runs.
After giving Lake Norman the lead with his two-RBI double, Arnold replaced Sheppard on the mound and earned the save.