Red Raiders gridiron action

The South Point Red Raiders varsity football team hosted the Kings Mountain High Mountaineers last week. When the dust settled the Mountaineers had achieved a 24-7 win.                  
                                                                                                                      Photos by Calvin Craig Superraiders

Cramer beats Huss while
East Gaston nips Thomas Jefferson


By John Wilson

The Stuart Cramer and East Gaston football teams both registered big wins this week. Cramer crushed Hunter Huss in a 33-8 win while East Gaston rallied to beat the Thomas Jefferson Gryphons 42-37.

Stuart Cramer 33
Hunter Huss 8
It had been a tough couple weeks for Stuart Cramer, but the Storm got back on track by ending a two game skid by beating Huss in a Big South 3A matchup.
The Storm won by playing well on both sides of the ball in a game they dominated from the beginning.
“It was great to bounce back after a tough couple of weeks,” head coach Ben McMillan said. “I think all the way around we played really well especially our defense.”
Defensively the Storm didn’t give Huss much room to maneuver. The Huskies only made it into the end zone once.
Defensive end Arias Nash had a fantastic game registering 15 tackles, one sack and five quarterback hurries. Josue Sanchez and Daimean Fernandez also played well. Both finished the night with 10 tackles a piece.
The Storm offense had a productive night as well.
Cramer employed a well-balanced attack inflicting damage on the ground and in the air.
The Storm finished the game with 421 yards of total offense. The production was pretty much evenly split with Cramer having 204 yards of rushing offense matched by 217 yards of passing.
“Offensively we were able to run the ball a little more,” McMillan added. “We just need to work on finishing drives with touchdowns.”
Storm QB Justin Rocquemore delivered a well-rounded performance passing for 217 yards with three touchdowns and running for 116 yards.
Running back Myles Hamilton contributed to the ground game as well. Hamilton had 72 yards off of 13 carries.
When Rocquemore went to the air his favorite target was six foot two inch junior receiver Nathan Brittain who really put on a show grabbing six passes for 78 yards with three touchdowns.
With their win over the Huskies Cramer improved their record to 3-3.
This week Cramer plays host to the 1-3 Ashbrook Greenwave.

East Gaston 42
Thomas Jefferson 37
It’s a little early in the season for must win games, but for the East Gaston Warriors to maintain their forward momentum in the Southern Piedmont 2A/2A the game against Thomas Jefferson was pretty much a must win contest.
The Warriors started out strong but soon found themselves in a hole. East Gaston trailed Thomas Jefferson 28-21 at the half.
When play got back underway in the third quarter the Gryphons picked up where they left off striking yet again to put the Warriors down 35-21.
It was beginning to look like the Warriors were going to let the game get away from them, but with about four minutes left in the third running back Justin Hill took matters into his own hands. Hill broke off a 77-yard touchdown run that put the Warriors back in the game.
After Hill’s score, EG continued to rally scoring one more touchdown in the third and another in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
Thomas Jefferson managed a safety in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t matter. East Gaston’s comeback was complete.
 “It was a great team win,” head coach JT Postell said. ‘We got off to a good start and then faced a little bit of adversity in the third quarter through part of the third quarter. Our guys responded and played their hearts out for the rest of the game.”
The East Gaston running game definitely got the job done.
The duo of Justin Hill and Markel McKinney provided the Warriors with a potent 1-2 punch.
Hill finished the night with 25 carries for 266 yards and two TD’s, while Markel McKinney had 16 carries for 191 yards and four scores.
Quarterback Trenton Sherrill went seven for 15 for 101 yards
Aiden Cloninger was EG’s top receiver with four catches for 53 yards
Several defensive players had noteworthy games for East Gaston.
Jake Fox finished the game with five tackles while Justin Hill and Jaxson Cogdill registered four stops apiece.
Josiah Lucas finished up with three tackles and Aiden Cloninger snatched an interception to round out the Warrior’s defensive effort.
This week the Warriors will host Bessemer City.


The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team went on the road last Wednesday all the way to Cherryville High’s Rudisill Stadium where they met the Chavis Middle School Wolverines. When the struggle over the inflated pigskin object was concluded, the Wildcats had scratched the Wolverines silly by a score of 53-0. Here are some scenes from the Wildcat win.  
Photos by Calvin Craig

South Point Red Raiders gridiron action...

The South Point Red Raiders junior varsity football squad was on home turf at Lineberger Stadium last Thursday when they met the Stuart Cramer Storm JV team for the second time in two weeks. When the game was over, the Red Raiders had squeezed out a 22-14 victory. The Red Raiders JV are now 4-1.

Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

Red Raiders football action...

The South Point Red Raiders football squad journeyed to Gastonia and met the Hunter Huss Huskies last Friday. On a great night for fall football, the Red Raiders dogged the Huskies and went back to Belmont with a 42-7 win. Here are some scenes from the tussle. See story on page 16.                
Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

Belmont Middle School football scenes...

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team played at W.C. Friday last Thursday.  Belmont won 28-0.  They have now won three games in a row. Here are some great scenes from the thrilling encounter.

Photos by Calvin Craig
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Belmont Abbey Rugby...

Eric Morgan converted a kick on the final play of the game, leading 21st-ranked Belmont Abbey to a 10-7 win over UNC Charlotte in rugby action Thursday night.
The game was played at Martha Rivers Park in Gastonia.
How It Happened- UNCC opened the scoring with a short try and conversion midway through the first half. The Crusaders (3-1-1) tied the game at 7-7 a short time later after Michael Brennan broke through the defense, the made the conversion. The Abbey played most of the second half in the 49ers’ end, but could not score until the final kick.
Belmont Abbey photo/story
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Mt. Island Charter Senior
Tennis Players

Mt. Island Charter School recognized its senior tennis players last week.  Left- Brooke House and family; Right - Charlotte Porter and family; along with Coaches- Brian Lawing and Don Abernathy.

Photo by Michael Strauss

Raptors gridiron scenes...

The Mt. Island Charter School Raptors varsity football team clashed with the Community School of Davidson gridiron squad last week. When the dust settled, Davidson had pulled out a 23-14 win. Here are a few pics from the meeting.

Photos by Mark Giacomin
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Gaston Christian defeats Hickory Grove Christian

Gaston Christian School varsity soccer has a great game recently when they defeated Hickory Grove Christian 10-1. Jaylen 4 goals; 3 assists.  Patrick 1 goal; 2 assists. Evan 2 goals. Cater 1 goal. Jacob H 1 assist. Cannon 1 goal; 1 assist. Jacob K 1 goal.
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Raphael Turner

Raphael Turner named MICS head varsity baseball coach

Originally from Washington, DC, Raphael was a dual sport athlete at Woodrow Wilson High School. There, he played football and baseball as a three year varsity standout. Recruited to play both sports in college, he chose to continue his student-athlete career at Radford University in Virginia.
At Radford, Raphael showed promise as one of the emerging stars for the program but a roller coaster career due to injuries all but solidified an opportunity that would allow him to play beyond college. In his five years of attendance, he majored in Sports Management while also obtaining a minor in Business Management. Raphael would go on to play three years on the independent professional circuit.
After his baseball career, Raphael founded Unmatched Performance Athletics in Charlotte, NC. He and the coaches he partnered with, developed a youth baseball organization designed around using baseball as a tool to create hard working, humble, team players and young men. He served players from ages six to nineteen years of age.
Raphael parlayed the opportunity with Unmatched and local athletes as a chance to leave a greater footprint on the game of baseball. Always being in love with the most mysterious part of the game, “the art of hitting,” he welcomed a following that wanted the knowledge he possessed. He is now known on a national scale in the baseball community as “@thathittingguy” on all major social media platforms.
The only thing Raphael loves more than coaching is learning how to be the best husband and father possible. Raphael lives in Denver, NC with his wife Joy and their children where they attend Church of Denver.

Register for Mt. Holly adult kickball

Registration for Mt. Holly Parks and Rec. Adult Kickball is open. The registration will end on Thursday, October 7th at 5:00pm.
If you have enough people to form a full team, you can register online with the Team Registration link. If you don’t have enough to form a team but just want to play, you can register online with the Individual Registration link.
The cost for a team is $300/residents & $350/non-residents.
To get the resident rate, at least 50% of your team must be Mount Holly residents. The cost for individuals is $35/residents & $40/non-residents.
Visit the Mount Holly website’s “Parks and Recreation” page for full details and registration links!
If you wish to register in person or have questions on the Adult Kickball season, please contact Connor Sisk at

Belmont Middle
Girls’ Softball action

In a match-up of two undefeated teams, Belmont Middle School Girls’ Softball Team lost 10-6 last week at Cherryville. BMS jumped out to an early 4-0 lead; but lost the lead in last couple of innings. Here are some scenes from the exciting contest.

Photos by John Kalmbach

After slow start Red Raiders run past Stuart Cramer for 28-21 win

By John Wilson

This year’s annual South Point-Stuart Cramer football game known as the ‘River Rumble’ turned out to be the game of the week.
Cramer played tough leading the Red Raiders for most of the game, but an opportunistic South Point defense and some strong running by Tyson Riley erased the Storm’s best chance at securing their first victory over South Point.
The Red Raiders started the game with an 87 yard drive topped off by a Tyson Riley 6-yard touchdown run.
Cramer responded with quarterback Justin Rocquemore connecting with Dameian Bentley on a 66-yard touchdown strike.
After tying up the game the Storm kept rolling scoring two additional touchdowns to push out to a 21-7 second quarter lead.
Not to be left out the Red Raiders pushed back when Frank Vickers ripped off a 75-yard kick return to narrow the gap.
A Charlie Birtwistle PAT sent the Red Raiders into the locker room down 21-14 at the half.
When the third quarter got underway the Red Raiders kept the pressure on the Cramer offense while Tyson Riley and the South Point offense went to work.
In the second half the South Point defense kept Cramer out of the end zone by producing timely sacks and three interceptions.
With the Cramer offense all but grounded the Red Raider running game took over.
The South Point offensive line paved the way for Riley to score two second half touchdowns on his way to a 42 carry, 243-yard, and three touchdown performance.
Riley’s 42 touches set a new school record. The previous record was shared by Tyler Bray and Troy Leeper.
Justin Rocquemore was Cramer’s top offensive player. Roquemore passed for 138 yards and a touchdown while running for 77 yards off of 12 carries with two TDs.
Head coach Adam Hodge was glad the Red Raiders pulled out the win.
“We started a little slow and had to come out and battle to win,” Hodge said. “They got a lead on us and we had to get up and fight.”
This wasn’t the first time this season that South Point found themselves starting out slow or being behind early in a game.
Coach Hodge understands that if the Red Raiders are hoping to win the conference or have a deep playoff run they’re going to need to be ready to roll on the first play of the game. South Point can’t count on always being able to rally to pull out a win.
“We need to put in four full quarters of football,” Hodge stressed.  “I don’t think we’ve done that yet. We started slow against Lincolnton, East Gaston and Cramer. We can’t do that if we want to win a state championship. We need to start fast and finish fast. We have a good team. We need to play a full game.”
With the Cramer win, South Point’s record improves to 3-1. This week the Red Raiders will go to Hunter Huss to battle the winless Huskies.
The 2-2 Storm will travel to Shelby to take on the 2-1 Crest Chargers.

Belmont Wildcats football action...

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team tangled with the Bessemer City Middle Tigers last week. When the scratching was over, the Wildcats had clawed out a 32-8 win Here are some colorful shots from the scuffle.

Photos by Calvin Craig

Sherrill, Hill and Cloninger propel
Warriors past Cherokee in 35-27 win

By John Wilson

If 2021 has taught us anything it’s that the East Gaston football program has improved dramatically this season.
Going into the Warriors home game against 2-1 Cherokee, East Gaston was sitting at 1-2.
East Gaston opened the season dominating the North Gaston Wildcats in their lone win of the year. That win was followed up by tough losses to Stuart Cramer and South Point. At different times during the losses to the Storm and the Red Raiders the Warriors were in the game but either let things slip away or didn’t play solid ball for four quarters.
If East Gaston could only find a way to play a complete game they could be onto something special.
As it turned out the Warriors did just that in beating the Cherokee Braves 35-26.
Powered by strong performances by quarterback Trenton Sherrill, running back Justin Hill and wide receiver Aiden Cloninger, the Warriors amassed 342 yards of total offense and played solid across the board.
Sherrill finished the game passing for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Hill ran for 127 yards off of 13 carries and a touchdown while Cloninger hauled in seven passes for 121 yards and three scores. Hill also scored on an 80-yard kickoff return.
Also putting in some solid work was running back Markel McKinney who ran for 92 yards off of 11 carries.
East Gaston head coach JT Postell was pleased with how things turned out
“It was a great win against a tough opponent,” Postell said. “I knew Cherokee was going to be tough and quite a challenge. They have really good size along their offensive and defensive line.”
The Braves are one of the top 1A programs in Western North Carolina coming out of the tough Smoky Mountain 1A Conference.
“We knew we would have our hands full with their quarterback,” Postell added.
While the Braves were able to put 26 points on the board the game was never really in jeopardy. EG played solid football throughout the game and the scoreboard reflected that effort.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Postell went on to say. “We played hard for four full quarters. That’s something I’ve emphasized. It’s something we haven’t done yet and I felt we did against Cherokee.”
This week the 2-2 Warriors will travel to Cherryville for their first conference game of the year to take on the 1-3 Ironmen.
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Belmont Abbey men’s soccer team opened 2021 season

The Belmont Abbey men’s soccer team opened its 2021 season at Limestone.  The Saints won the contest 3-0. How It Happened - In the 17th minute, Kevin Daly took the first shot of the year for the Crusaders. Limestone took the lead in the 13th minute, and held the 1-0 advantage at halftime.  The defense was strong throughout the half, limiting the Saints to just three shots in the period. The Saints scored in the 63rd and 65th minutes to take a 3-0 lead. Ben Knust made four saves in goal.     Belmont Abbey photo

Wildcats gridiron action...

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team battled the Stanley Middle School Blue Devils last Wednesday. When the contest was concluded, the Wildcats had clawed out a 34-0 victory. Here are some shots from the gridiron grapple.   Photos by Calvin Craig Superraiders

South Point Red Raiders Junior Varsity football scenes...

The South Point High Red Raiders JV football team traveled to Claremont in Catawba County last week and took on the Bunker Hill High Bears. By the time the contest was concluded, the Bears had mauled the Red Raiders 22-8. Here are a few scenes from the event.

Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

Mt. Holly Sports Hall of Fame scenes

Above: The 1992 East Gaston High School Wrestling Team, state champions. The Mt Holly Sports Hall of Fame banquet and induction event was held on August 21, 2021 at the Mt Holly Municipal Complex. Here are photos of the inductees.

Photos by Richard Flowers

South Point Red Raiders clash with Hickory Raging Bulls

The South Point Red Raiders clashed with the Hickory Ridge Raging Bulls (Harrisburg, NC) last Friday. When the dust settled, the Bulls stampeded over the Red Raiders 27-7. Here are some scenes from the bully ball game.

Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

Mountain Island Charter
football action...

The Mt. Island Charter School Raptors football team met the Cabarrus Stallions on August 27. The Raptors came away with a 28-6 victory. Key Raptor players in that contest included- Dylan Bisson, QB, SR- 14/17 for 423 yards 3 TDs, 3 rushes 27 yards 1 TD; Cole Hart, WR, SR- 4 catches 202 yards 2 TDs; Trae Nickelson, ATH, SR- 148 Yards All Purpose; Ashton Miller, DL. JR- 7 tackles, 2 tackle for Loss, 2 sacks; Tanner Leeson, DL, SR- 4 tackes, 3 Tackles for Loss, 3 sacks.

Photos by Mark Giacomin

Stuart Cramer comes from
behind to beat East Gaston

By John Wilson

Anytime local rivals go at it there are bound to be some fireworks and a little bit of excitement.
That proved to be the case when the East Gaston Warriors football team traveled to Cramerton to face the Stuart Cramer Storm in a non-conference matchup that went the distance.
The Storm took advantage of some late game turnovers to stage a dramatic comeback to beat the Warriors 28-21.
Both offenses played incredibly well with EG putting up 396 yards of total offense and Cramer keeping pace with 364 yards.
Justin Rocquemore proved that he truly is a dual threat quarterback throwing for 292 yards and four touchdowns and running for 39 yards. Dameian Bentley was Cramer’s top receiver hauling in four passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
“I was proud of the way our guys stayed together playing as a team,” head coach Ben McMillan said. “They kept fighting even after some things didn’t go our way early on in the game.”
McMillan credits the defense with putting the Storm in a position to win the game.
“Our defense played really well again and forced some big turnovers late in the game,” McMillan added.
Arias Nash, Josue Sanchez, Markel McKinney, Dameian Bentley, and Markiss Nelson all contributed in one way or another to the Cramer defensive effort. Nash and Sanchez were the games top tacklers with Sanchez leading the pack with 15 tackles followed by Nash who finished the night with 14.
Throughout the night Cramer had some tough moments, but they always found a way to turn things around.
For the most part coach McMillan thought his offense played well. When the going got rough the Storm offense delivered.
Now Cramer will go into the bye week looking pretty good at 2-1.
 “Offensively we made some key plays when we needed to,” McMillan said. “Going into the bye week I feel like our team has improved each week. I want to continue.”
As for East Gaston, well this is a team that need not hang their head low. While no one likes it when a game gets away from them the Warriors played well and are giving Cramer their due.
“A tough loss,” head coach JT Postell said. “We played well at times but also lost focus at times and made too many mistakes at crucial moments of the game. I am really proud of our fight and the way we battled for four quarters. Give Stuart Cramer a lot of credit, they made more plays than we did. Coach McMillan does a great job over there.”
The Warriors had several players that distinguished themselves against Cramer. Quarterback Trent Sherill went 11 for 25 for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Markel McKinney also put in a solid performance running for 101 yards off of 15 carries and a touchdown while pulling in six passes for 91 yards and a TD.
While Sherrill and McKinney did some solid work Justin Hill needs to be mentioned as well. Hill ground out 126 yards off 22 carries and was the game’s top rusher.
Over the last few games East Gaston has shown that they are a team that can no longer be taken lightly. Look for them to continue to get better.
 “We will get back to work and continue to try and improve.” Postell added.
This week Cramer has a bye while East Gaston travels to the mountains to battle the Cherokee Braves.

Scenes from Stuart Cramer - East Gaston Game

Belmont Middle football scenes...

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team sojourned all the way to Gastonia last week and jousted with the Grier Middle School Knights. When the final buzzer sounded, Grier had prevailed with a score of 24-12. Here are some nice photos from the thrilling encounter.
Photos by Calvin Craig
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Nat Worcester

Worcester named head cycling coach

Former Belmont Abbey cyclist Nat Worcester has been named as the Crusaders’ new head coach, Vice President and Director of Athletics announced today. Worcester begins his duties immediately.
“We are thrilled to name Nat Worcester as our new Head Cycling Coach at Belmont Abbey College,” Vice-President and Director of Athletics Stephen Miss said. “As an alumnus of our college and cycling program, as well as a recent convert to Catholicism, Coach Worcester is the ideal individual to form and develop our students, maintain continuity and build upon the foundation established during his athletic career.”
A 2020 graduate of The Abbey, Worcester returns to his alma mater where he was a four-year letterman and team captain, participating in the disciplines of track and road. Since graduation, he has been working at the Giordana Velodrome as a Track Assistant, providing instruction in the rider certification program, ensuring operational safety at the track and supervising equipment. He also has served as Director of the DDP Cycling Team, coordinating logistics for races and planning and implementing race strategies.
He holds a Level 3 coaching license from USA Cycling.
“I am extremely honored and grateful to Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., President Thierfelder and Stephen Miss for the opportunity to return to my alma mater and lead a program that I helped form in its early years,” Worcester said. “Belmont Abbey is a special place with a growing cycling tradition. I am fully committed to continuing the successes of this program.”
Worcester earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a minor in sport management. He is currently working towards a master’s in psychology with a specialization in sports psychology.
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Congratulations to
South Point High School

Congratulations to South Point High School for being recognized by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association as the Southwestern 2A Wells Fargo Conference Cup champion. South Point High School collected conference championships in men and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving.

Gaston Schools photo

Mountain Island Charter Raptors Win!

Last Friday the Mountain Island Charter Raptors varsity football team won their away non-conference game against Anson (Wadesboro, NC) Bearcats by a score of 34-27. Congratulations to Austin McConnell, Brock Haynes, Ashton Miller and Reginald Taylor for being selected the Mountain Island Charter players of the game. Here are a few shots from the contest.

Photos by Mark Giacomin

Gaston Christian
Volleyball scenes

The Gaston Christian School Varsity Volleyball team is back in action and in their first home game defeated Lake Pointe 3-0. The team went on to defeat  Charlotte Latin 3-1.

GCS photos

South Point Red Raider’s 46-7 victory

​​​Here are some action shots from the South Point Red Raider’s 46-7 victory over Lincolnton last Friday night.  
                                                                    Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

MICS tennis has great match

Mt. Island Charter School took on Pine lake Prep in a great tennis match last week. Jackie Reilly and Abrie Ashburn (below) had their first ever tennis win. Senior Brooke Houser (at left) also had a good day. The team coach is Brian Lawing. The team was started spring of 2021 and this is their second season.

Photos by Michael Strauss

Belmont tennis is a big hit

Featured here is the most recent City of Belmont Parks and Recreation August tennis class celebrating their final tennis lesson.
The heat didn’t faze these dedicated players who learned how to volley, forehand and backhand with their class instructors.
Participants ages 5-13 enjoyed meeting each session from 9:30am – 10:30am; 10:30am – 11:30am working on their individual skills.
The overall program saw an increase from previous student turnout by nearly 40%.
A big thank you goes out to the Harris Teeter of Belmont for donating gift cards to purchase several cold treats for the players for their last day of class.
More info on how you can experience a future program contact the City of Belmont Parks and Recreation website at
Or call the main offcie at (704) 825-8191.
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Belmont Parks and Recreation Mobile unit brings the fun!

This summer Belmont Parks and Recreation brought the fun to you! Our 2021 Mobile Recreation program allowed us to serve communities around the entire City of Belmont.
We hit the road with our trailer stocked full of games, activities, crafts, and sno-cones. The sidewalks were covered in art, and the air was filled with laughter.
Our mission to give back to our local families and friends by providing this free program was more than fulfilling.
By traveling to different parks, we were able to encourage all populations to get outside, make new connections, and stay active.
The Mobile Rec program stimulated growth in less frequented parks by drawing families to each event. Our trailer went to six different parks and served over 100 children.
It is safe to say our sno-cones and bubble machine were the main attractions.
Nichols Food Store of Belmont had our backs by providing us all the ice we needed to keep sno-cones coming.
 At our final stop in downtown Stowe Park we succeeded our goals with the back-to-School Bash event which provided bookbags for 100 students thanks to funding from CaroMont Health.
The support that we had to make each event special was uncanny.  While we are sad to see summer come and go, we know this is just the beginning Mobile Recreation here at Belmont, NC.
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Belmont Parks and Recreation soccer coach
volunteers train up for 2021 fall season

The Belmont Abbey College Men’s and Women’s Soccer Program players/staff met up with Belmont Parks and Rec soccer volunteers on Sunday August 8th for their pre-season coaches clinic.  The clinic, held at the Ebb Gantt Soccer Complex, covered several key points for both new and former volunteers which helped addressed ways coaches could better serve their players and effectively navigate drills that could benefit particular age groups.
Coaches were divided up into two smaller groups and were shown age specific drills and techniques that could give them better success with their soccer teams for the upcoming season.
Brian McGonagle, Belmont Parks and Recreation Athletic Director indicated that the partnership with the local college team has been a real blessing over the years.
“It’s critical to our success,” added McGonagle. “We as a department want to ensure each volunteer has the very best knowledge and guidance when managing their team players.”
According to statistics, most kids quit sports due to the coaching experience.
“I’m very grateful to the coaches and players from Belmont Abbey College,” concluded McGonagle.
“Having such a large program, partnerships are key and we are happy to have the ability to have such an asset like the Abbey so close to home.”
Belmont currently will be fielding 37 soccer teams for the fall season and volunteers are always welcome. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer coach for the City of Belmont Parks and Recreation you can reach the parks and recreation office at (704) 825-8191.
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South Point Red Raiders wins
pre season soccer tournament

The South Point Red Raiders won the pre season soccer tournament (Gazette Cup) by defeating the Stuart Cramer Storm 3-0 in the Championship game played at Stuart Cramer last Saturday evening. Above are some great scenes from the exhilarating contest.

Photos by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
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Fall Sports Preview

See our Fall Sports Preview in this week's Banner-News  (August 19, 2021)
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2020 Hall of Fame – 1992 East Gaston Wrestling

By Kathy Blake
No Time to Lose
East Gaston wrestling doesn’t let change interfere with State title 
The year is 1992.
The Olympic Games are in Barcelona, Spain. Bill Clinton is elected president. Jay Leno debuts on “The Tonight Show,” and IBM introduces a laptop, the ThinkPad 700C.
“Barney & Friends” premiers on TV and, in better news, the Chicago Bulls win their second consecutive NBA title.
In Mount Holly, the East Gaston High School wrestling team – which graduated six members, including four 1991 state finalists and underwent a coaching change – patches its pieces together and wins another Class 4A state championship.
“It was one of those things we wanted to continue and defend that title,” says Cain Beard, a junior 112-pounder. “We had a legendary coach (Doug Smith) retire, and we were young and had to kind of mesh together. It took a lot of adjustment, because of our having been used to doing things a certain way. And this new coach comes in, and we had to get to know each other and figure it out.”
The new coach was Bryan Lingerfelt, who at 23 was on the borderline of being a peer vs. being authority. And Smith, who led the team to a 22-0 record and Class 4A state title the year before and had coached for 13 seasons, was still in the building, down the hall.
“I was just a young coach that was hoping to help young men and East Gaston,” Lingerfelt says. “I saw it as an opportunity to help. The success we had I’m sure was unexpected, but that is what made it so special and what made these young men special that season.”
“Coach Smith was still teaching at the school, and all of us would go talk to him about strategy, but it was awkward for us,” says Beard, who coached as several high schools before taking his current role in 2008 as head coach at Rock Hill High School. “It was an awkward situation (for Lingerfelt) to follow a legend. When I got to Rock Hill, I heard about how great the teams were in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and I kind of get the feeling of what Bryan must have felt. I know Bryan heard it from us: ‘That’s not how it was done!’ And I heard it at Rock Hill.”
Lingerfelt was a student-teacher as East Gaston in 1990 and helped coach football. He was hired at Surry Central High School after graduation from Appalachian State University in Boone, then was asked to return to East Gaston to coach wrestling for 1991-92.
For what it accomplished in 1992, the wrestling team is inducted into the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame.
The group went 14-1, the only loss coming at Ashbrook in the regular season – an outcome that was reversed in the state finals.
“Ashbrook and us, at the time, were the two premier programs in the area, and we went to their place and had to deal with some lineup issues – I don’t remember what it was – and we took a loss,” Beard says. “And sometimes a loss is a good thing. I’ve always said as a coach, if you go undefeated I need to make the schedule tougher.”
On the bus ride home, he says, the team pondered how to use the loss to their advantage. “Our goal as a team was not so much to avenge the loss but to put yourself in a position to win a state title. And we had done that, that night. We were going for our third state title.”
“I remember that bus ride as being quiet. I remember some guys crying,” says Brent Harrelson, a junior who wrestled at 171. “Whether we wanted to admit it nor not, Ashbrook was a very tough match. They were our rivals, and there was mutual respect, whether we wanted to admit it or not. It was important to beat those guys, then all of a sudden we had this mark on our record and we thought, we can’t do this.”
“The loss did bring the team together,” Lingerfelt says. “I believe Bart Davis may have said something to rally the guys. Losing to Ashbrook hurt their feelings, and they could have gone the other way as well, but they had a ‘tradition’ they wanted to continue.”
The Warriors beat Ashbrook 47-13 in the state Western final on February 6 to advance to the 4A dual-team title. It was Ashbrook’s first loss of the season.
On the night of the state final title match vs. Eastern winner Orange High (23-2), from Hillsborough, Beard says the term “three-peat” was “being thrown around. The (Chicago) Bulls didn’t do theirs until the next year, but the term was out there. And it was on our mind.”
“There was a certain standard we held ourselves to,” Beard says. “It’s about putting ourselves in a position to win a state title. That’s what we do. All of us understood how we had to do it, getting everyone mentally prepared and on the same page to be in that situation.”
East Gaston won 30-25.
“Before the match, we said don’t let anybody come in here and take it from us,” Lingerfelt said after the win. “That’s all I tried to do, keep the tradition of the program going. I just tried to guide it along.”
Following Harrelson’s pin at to give East Gaston the lead, Bart Davis (189) clinched the victory with one match remaining with a 10-5 win, making an Orange comeback mathematically impossible.
“Wrestling at a higher weight, especially toward the end of a match, is especially stressful when it’s close,” Harrelson says, “and all you can think of is, don’t let your nerves get in the way of what you’re trying to do. And that’s what it was.”
Orange took a 6-0 lead early, but decisions by Beard, Darrell Stewart (125) and Jody Chery (119) gave East Gaston a 10-6 lead. After Orange tied it at 12, Brian Stewart (140) won his match by pin and Shelton Camp (152) won 2-1 to improve his record to 27-0-1.
Harrelson, 45 now, says winning the championship was “surreal.”
“It was awesome. We were happy,” he says. “I can’t tell you how cool that was.”

East Gaston 1992 Wresting Team: David Laws (103), Caine Beard (112), Jody Cherry (119), Darrell Steward (125), Tim Hawkins (130), Brian Anderson (135), Brian Stewart (140), Sean Anderson (145), Shelton Camp (152), Steven Carpenter (160), Brent Harrelson (171), Bart Davis and Jeremiah Brunson (189), Nicer Young (Hwt).
Season record: 14-1
After having had to cancel the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that the 2021 event will be held on August 21,2021 at the Mount Holly Municipal Complex at 6pm. Tickets are available for $20 at Moose’s Pharmacy and David’s Detailing.
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2020 Hall of Fame – Scottie Holden

By Kathy Blake
Think fast… 
Got a second? This wrestling match is over
There is a word used in the South for the act of shoving work and responsibilities aside in favor of freely and nonchalantly being idle with time.
The word is “loafering,” a version of “loafing,” which simply means going slowly at one’s own pace, elsewhere, with no regard for obligations, or clocks.
Scottie Holden, as an athlete, was not one for loafering. A wrestler at Stanley Middle School and East Gaston High School in the mid-1980s, he was quick – sometimes excessively quick – and left opponents pinned before they had time to get their strategy adjusted. On your mark, set…match over.
During Holden’s junior year in 1984, East Gaston Coach Doug Smith complained about, of all things, how fast he finished his matches and got back to the bench. “He got on to me, because my first 22 matches was first-period pin. And he kept telling me I needed to go into the second or third round, because when I got to State it was going to go longer,” Holden says. “So my State final that I won, I did it in 1 minute 38 seconds.”
Smith coached East Gaston from 1978 through 1991, a year that ended in a state title. He knows a bit about timing.
“He was one of the most physical wrestlers I ever coached,” Smith says. “He physically beat up everyone he wrestled. He pinned three out of four at the State Championships, and he pinned a kid in the finals who was about as physical and tough as you’d see.”
Holden wrestled before North Carolina high schools were divided by attendance size. There wasn’t any 1A, 2A, and so on. Everyone was in the same batch. “In later years, they split schools into four classifications, but with him, there was only one state champ in each weight class. Back in that day, you had to go through everybody to win, and he was the first to do that.”
Holden won his state title at 108 pounds.
Being quick, and athletic, helps when you’re the little guy.
“I got started in wrestling with my brother, who was a year and three months older than me,” Holden says. “And, don’t laugh, but we were both small-framed and we played Little League baseball, him as a left-handed pitcher and me as a catcher. And when we got to middle school our stature for being ball players was not equivalent to what was needed.”
So Scottie and Jerry joined the wrestling team. “I won the county championship all three years,” Scottie Holden says. “Seventh, eighth and ninth grade, I won every year. My brother was close to the same weight class, and we pushed each other; we drove each other hard.”
Having a brother along helps in transitioning to high school, too. “When you go from middle school to high school, you’re already nervous and scared, and when you’re on the starting (wrestling) team as a ninth-grader, and you’re competing against 11th- and 12th-graders, it’s definitely a challenge. He was my motivator. We pushed each other.”
Holden’s accomplishments as an athlete and later as a coach led to his induction in the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame. “I never even thought of it before,” he says. “I never looked for any publicity. I’m just me. Worked hard all my life.”
That junior year, 1984, was a year for work. Holden says he’s the only East Gaston wrestler to win a true state championship, when all state schools competed without divisions. “There were 15 weight classes, but you had 25 or 30 people on a team. If your record didn’t allow you to qualify for Sectionals at the end of the season, you didn’t go,” he says. “The first round, there were 16 in each weight class and if you got beat you was done.”
Holden was quick away from the matt, too. If making weight was an issue, he could drop it like … now.
“When it was needed to lose 10 pounds during school, I had gotten out of class to lose weight… back in the day,” he says. “I could lose 10 pounds in a school day to compete. The plastic bags, the sweats… I’m glad they don’t allow that now.”
Holden’s senior year, 1985, didn’t go as planned. “I got sick and I had ruptured a blood vessel in my stomach, but I still made it to State,” he says. “My doctor advised me not to go, but I went anyway. I was too weak, and I lost out.” Still, colleges took notice. Chattanooga, Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, and he thought a long time about making the move to Tennessee.
“But I didn’t go,” he says. “I think that, in a way, if your mindset and heart isn’t in it, don’t do it. That is not a sport where you can get help, like have someone tackle someone or whatever. It’s a team sport, but it’s individual. So if your mind and heart is not in it, don’t pursue it.”
Holden pursued coaching, instead.
He was an assistant at Stanley Middle before he coached Mount Holly Middle School in 2002 and 2003, first as an assistant then as head coach. “I led them to their first championship title for Gaston County. Mount Holly had a team for 17 years and had never won,” he says. “I just wanted to work with the kids. I wasn’t interested in being in front of anybody. There’s a lot of kids I’ve coached through the years in Mount Holly, good kids.”
His son, Scottie Holden Jr., took over competition duties for his dad. “My oldest son went through Mount Holly and never had one point scored against him. I was amazed,” he says. “Never seen that before in my life. To see anyone in middle school never get one point scored on them.
“We won some matches 96-0, a perfect score. I told my team, I didn’t think that had ever been done in history. And the second year I coached, we beat another team 96-0.
“Scottie was a born-and-bred wrestler and started in the fifth grade, and we were actually invited to a tournament in Randolph County, and they invited our AAU team in Mount Holly,” Holden says. “My son was in sixth grade and beat an eighth-grader for the 80-pound weight class, and he only weighed 68 pounds. The kid from Randolph, his daddy was the head coach, and they had won the championship in that county for the last three years. But Scottie was 10 to 12 pounds lighter, and he beat him by decision.
“It was a big upset. I ran out on the matt and picked him up and hugged him. I didn’t care if I was disqualified or not. He also won a championship in seventh and eighth grade and was MVP for the Gaston County tournament.”
Looking back, Holden credits his parents – Jerry Holden Sr. and Helen Holden – and his children, his girls Tiffany and Carmen and sons Scottie and Calen. And his brother, Jerry. And Kirk Wells, the East Gaston assistant coach. “He was great with kids, and he pushed us more in a way like a comedy-type coach,” he says. “He made practices great.”
Holden left the sport for a role with Hoechst Celanese’s Mount Holly facility, mostly working with Oil of Olay production that sent bulk product to Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati. He says he put in “29.83 years, and retired and built a big shop behind my house.”
He can be found, most days, out back in that shop, working on a FedEx truck for Mutschler, Inc., which contracts throughout the southeast for FedEx Ground. He’ll do the maintenance, change out a transmission, service the vehicles. He’s quick to solve issues and take care of business.
But if he’s not there… he may have gone wandering to reminisce about how he’s worked hard all his life.
He’ll be back soon. He’s just off somewhere loafering.
County Middle School Champion – 1980-1982 (7th, 8th and 9th grade)
State Tournament qualifier – 1983-1985 (10th, 11th, 12th grade)
State Champion, 108-pound class – 1984 (junior year)
Coach, Stanley Middle school
Assistant coach and coach, Mount Holly Middle School, 2002-2003
Won State title with MHMS
After having had to cancel the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that the 2021 event will be held on August 21, 2021 at the Mount Holly Municipal Complex at 6pm. Tickets are available for $20 at Moose’s Pharmacy and David’s Detailing.
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Congratulations area coaches

Congratulations to two current high school athletic directors and one retired athletic director for receiving awards earlier this week at a North Carolina Athletic Directors Association luncheon. 
Scott Harrill of Cherryville High School received the Region 6 Athletic Director of Excellence Award. In addition, East Gaston High School athletic director Ryan Resendez received the Region 6 Citation Award and retired Hunter Huss High School athletic director Steve Gardner received the Braveheart Award.                                                                Gaston Schools photos

The gift, the giver,
and boys who play ball

By Kathy Blake
Some youth ballplayers didn’t have a ride to the field. So coaches would pick them up for practice and drive them home, only to find both cars in the driveway. “Some of them didn’t have the best family life, and we tried to give them through ball what they weren’t getting from home,” says Donna Womack, whose husband Eddie coached. “They were good athletes. You just take them under your wing.”
Years later, a man approached the Womacks at a restaurant. He had a son with him, about 8 years old. The man told his son, “This was my coach in Optimist Ball, and he taught me more about life and baseball than anyone I’ve ever known.”
Not all sports accomplishments are validated by statistics. Interpersonal skills, effort and determination can’t be numerically recorded in a coaching notebook. Neither can basic concern for a person’s well-being.
Eddie Womack coached people, not just athletes. For 35 years in Mount Holly schools, Little Leagues, Dixie Youth League baseball, Babe Ruth, fall ball. He also played football and baseball for Mount Holly High School and played both sports at Lenoir-Rhyne.
Around Mount Holly, he’s known as the man who has coached so many kids – and cared about so many kids.
But there is one statistic Womack knows: According to the NCAA, only about 2 percent of high school athletes receive a college scholarship. And, fewer than 2 percent of college athletes have the chance to turn pro.
Youth ball, or maybe high school ball, is all they get.
“That’s when you need these special coaches. It’s a gift. Coaching is a gift,” Donna says. “You have to have a passion for it.”
Eddie Womack first put on a players’ uniform in 1962, for pee-wee football. He played fullback and tailback for Mount Holly High from 1965 through 1967 and played baseball 1965 through 1968. He went to Lenoir-Ryne in 1968 and started coaching locally in 1971, when he assisted Coach Delmer Wiles with baseball and football at Mount Holly High. The next 30-plus years were a tour of youth leagues, one after the other, season after season.
This year, for his efforts, he’s inducted in the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame with the Community Service Award.
“I’m just a representative of people that have helped coach with me. You can’t do it by yourself,” he says. “It’s just in my blood. I just want to coach. Some people tell me I’m crazy and ask how I put up with the parents. I tell them, the parents don’t mess with me. I’m here to teach the kids to play ball.”
But family influences happen.
“I had a kid at East Gaston, and he was tall, and he said all he could do was pitch. His older brother played college ball, and I had a talk with him privately,” Womack says, “and I said, ‘Let me be honest with you. You don’t want to play baseball.’ I just had that feeling, and one day his brother came to watch him play. And I told him, ‘You’re not your brother. I have two sons. They’re not the same.’ Parents sometimes want kids to be something they’re not. It’s a crying shame.”
The Womacks’ sons are Kelly, who will be 43 in November, and Kent, who will turn 40 in January. Eddie Womack is 70. He and Donna have been married 45 years. “Ever since I’ve known him, he’s loved sports,” she says. “When we got married, he played softball and on the traveling league team and the wives would go. So we’ve always been in it, and around it, and he umpires, and he’s always been on a ballfield. He just loves the kids and what he does.
“It’s funny, because sometimes these big, tall guys will come up to him and say, ‘Hi, Coach,’ and they were like 8 or 9 when he coached them. It makes him feel good. The boys, they don’t forget what you taught them. He says he tries to teach them ball and the values of life. You can carry the values on through long after the games.”
So many stories:
“I had one kid, he was 13 or 14 and his parents separated right before ball started and he had a big chip on his shoulder because he thought everyone was looking at him,” Womack says, “because at that time, not a lot of people separated or got divorced. We were at a ballgame and I brought him in from the outfield to pitch, and me and another coach were walking back to the sideline laughing and he thought we were laughing at him and he hollered at us. And he’s about 6-foot and I’m about 5-foot-7 if you stretch me, and I said, ‘Don’t you ever holler at a coach again. All I want you to do is pitch.’ After he finished that inning he said, ‘I’m sorry, coach.’ And I said, ‘I love you buddy.’ He made All-Stars. I wanted him to enjoy the game of baseball.”
“I had one team a few years ago, a guy called me up late on a Thursday night and says, ‘I got 14 boys who want to play ball this fall, and we’ll put them in a league.’ I said, first question, do they want to play ball? He said, ‘Yes. They didn’t make the travel team.’ I said, if they want to play, I’ll coach ‘em. So we played the fall league and went 7-2-1. One guy says, ‘How’d you get these boys to win? We couldn’t get them to win in rec ball. And I said, I’m not their daddy. Sometimes you need a change.”
Womack was in an accident in 2015. He drives a truck now, for Lanier Material Sales. Doctors want to put a metal plate in his back. Some days, he has trouble walking. But he wants to coach again. He lost his best friend at age 17, and his last words to him, before doctors operated on the friend’s brain, were, “We’ll throw the ball when you get out of the hospital.” He doesn’t question the Lord’s work, he says. “I know I’ll see him again.”
Meanwhile, he watches the kids play ball, tries to give them part of his gift before they’re grown.
He quotes a song by Trace Adkins:
“You’re gonna miss this/ You’re gonna want this back/ You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast/ These are some good times/ So take a good look around/ You may not know it now/ But you’re gonna miss this.”
One day, Donna says, Eddie left her a note.
It said, “Donna, thank you for always letting me do what I love to do.”

As a player:
Pee-Wee Football, 1962; Midget Football, 1963; Pop-Warner All-American
Mount Holly High School: Football 1965-67 (fullback, tailback). Won Western 2A State in 1967
Mount Holly High School: Baseball 1965-68 (pitcher) Conference champions 1964, ’65, ’66, ’67
Lenoire-Ryne College: Baseball, football
As a coach:
Mount Holly High School: Assistant for baseball, football 1971-1972
Coached Mount Holly Recreation Department and Little League teams: 1970s
Dixie Youth baseball: 1990-2000
Babe Ruth: 1980s
East Gaston assistant coach, fall ball: 1993-2005
Umpire: Babe Ruth and Dixie League games

After having had to cancel the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that the 2021 event will be held on August 21,2021 at the Mount Holly Municipal Complex at 6pm. Tickets are available for $20 at Moose’s Pharmacy and David’s Detailing.

Stanley Parks & Rec.
12U Baseball scenes...

The Stanley Parks and Rec. 12U baseball team was the District 4 Majors champions and advanced to the Dixie Youth State Tournament. Stanley was 3-2 in post season play. The tourney was held in Elizabethtown, NC. Stanley lost a heartbreaker in the 1st round  to Southwest 3-0 on a three run home run in the last inning. Stanley then beat Red Springs 9-3 to stay alive with Luke Poplin, Cooper Hardiss, and Luke Brown pitching in the win.  Stanley was eliminated  by Burgaw 10-3. Here are some scenes from the exciting games. See more on page 11.
Photos by Randy Starkey
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Kelly named Gaston County Player of Year

Congratulations to Will Kelly of Gaston Christian School on being named the Gaston County Player of The Year.  Schools like Virginia Tech, Appalachian State, Wofford, Georgia State, Liberty, Charlotte, Yale, UMBC, and Mercer have all expressed interest his way at some point and that list could continue to grow.
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 Assistant Coaches join new
Gaston College Athletics Program

The Gaston College Athletics Department has added two new members to its baseball coaching staff. Jacob Rand and Kenneth “KJ” McAllister, Jr., will join Head Baseball Coach Shohn Doty in the Gaston College’s athletics program that officially begins this fall.
Rand is the Recruiting Coordinator and an Assistant Coach for the Baseball team. He graduated in 2015 from Mars Hill University in North Carolina, where he was a four-year starter on their baseball team, playing in three positions: Catcher, Second Baseman, and Third Baseman. Prior to Gaston College, he was assistant Baseball Coach and Director of Operations at Wingate University in N.C. Wingate averaged more than 30 wins per season and appeared in two NCAA Regionals during Rand’s tenure there, and in April won the 2021 South Atlantic Conference tournament title.
He has worked with several traveling baseball organizations, including the Charlotte Megastars and the Pineville Pioneers/Southern Collegiate summer team, and was the Head Coach of the On Deck O’s inaugural senior team.
“This is an unprecedented time for Gaston College, and I am excited to be a part of the bright future of this athletics department,” said Rand. “I look forward to working with Coach Doty and Coach McAllister as we build a program in an always competitive Region 10.”
“Jacob is a relentless recruiter and is on the cutting edge with his hitting philosophies,” said Doty. “We are extremely excited to add him to our staff. He is coming from a program that has a tradition of winning and he will bring that culture with him.”
McAllister, who was the 2018 3A High School Baseball Coach of the Year at Jacksonville High School in N.C., is also an Assistant Coach at Gaston College. He is a graduate of Limestone University in Gaffney, South Carolina, where he had the all-time sixth highest batting average, and was an All-Conference player.
In 2013, McAllister was an All-Star in the Coastal Plain League, the nation’s premier collegiate summer baseball league, and he played professionally for the San Angelo (Texas) Colts in 2014. He served as Assistant Baseball Coach at North Carolina Central University prior to joining Gaston College.
“I’m excited to be able to work with a great coaching staff and help mold a great group of student athletes,” said McAllister. “I’m truly grateful for the opportunity and I am ready to get to work!”
“KJ has a unique presence and energy around him that I believe will translate to our players,” said Doty. “He will be a quality coach and his knowledge of infield play will be a huge asset.”
Gaston College has several players already committed to join the baseball team this fall. New recruits include several Division I transfers as well as high school graduates from various areas, including Canada. With the high level of baseball talent in the area more local commits are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Gaston Braves season ends in second round of playoffs

By Art Shoemaker
The G-Braves opened the second round of the play-offs against an outstanding Rutherford County squad.
In the first match-up, played at South Point, the Braves fell by a 9-5 score.  In a seven inning game the locals trailed 9-2 after six innings but mounted a comeback by posting three runs in the final inning but this was not enough in losing the opener.
Parker Agosta, an East Gaston Warrior, suffered the loss on the mound for the Braves.  Grayson Guy, Dylan Owensby, Drew Wofford, Daniel McClellan, Logan Agosta, Caleb Burr and Jackson Risk all had a single hit for the Braves.
Game two in the series saw the Braves rebound in winning by a 5-1 score. Jake Bidoglio, a Red Raider standout, pitched a masterpiece in going the distance allowing only three hits and striking out seven.
Grayson Guy, who performed at Gaston Christian and Caleb Burr, an East Gaston star, led the Braves on offense with two hits each.
The Braves traveled to Forest City to play Post 29 in game three of the series.  The G-Braves managed only one run in this affair in losing 7-1.
Ethan Simmons, who has been stellar all season for the Braves, only allowed five hits but was the hard luck loser on the mound.
Grayson Guy, who continued his season long hitting success for the Braves led the Braves with two hits in the game.
The season came to an end last Monday as the Braves fell by an 11-3 score.
Rutherford Co. scored in every inning but one with the big inning occurring in the sixth.  Post 29 put the game away with six runs in this inning.
Marshall Witheral, a South Pointer, took the loss for the G-Braves.  He allowed only four hits in his four innings of work but the Braves committed errors that aided the host team in their victory.
Ayden Ledford and Jackson Risk each had two hits for the Braves.
Coach Tim Brown offered praise to this team for their effort, hustle and positive attitude throughout the 2021 season.