MINT HILL – Queen’s Grant edged Community School of Davidson 1-0 to win the PAC 7 conference tournament title on May 3.
After winning the league’s regular-season title the Stallions (17-7, 11-3 in PAC 7) became the first Queen’s Grant team to win the regular season and conference titles in the same year. The 17 wins tie the program record for wins in a season set in 2012 and gives the Stallions a first-round bye in the NCHSAA 1A championship.
On May 1, the Stallions took out Union Academy 4-1 in the conference tournament semifinals.
Spencer Smith got the scoring started with a base hit in the fifth inning. He would score two batters later when Jacob Beard doubled him home and Andrew Ollenberger, Bryce Gorospe and freshman Alwin Duran each drove in runs in that pivotal frame.
That was more than enough for Stallions starter Leo Hoffer who kept Union Academy batters out of rhythm all evening.
Hoffer went 6.2 innings and scattered just four hits. He struck out three and walked two batters and didn’t allow a run until the seventh inning.
Junior Andy Duran got the final out to pick up a save and advance the Stallions to the final two days later at Pine Lake Prep.
In the tournament championship, Community School of Davidson entered as the league’s hottest team and winners of five straight.
But it was the Stallions who struck first, getting the only run of the game home in the second inning. Andy Duran led off with a single and then stole second base to get the rally started.
Ollenberger singled to centerfield later in that inning, scoring Duran from second.
Hoffer would collect the Stallions only other hit in the game, which turned into a pitching dual although both teams had their chances. Ollenberger stole second base and nearly scored later in the second inning, but was thrown out at home plate.
Queen’s Grant threatened again in the third inning. Smith walked and stole second and Alwin Duran drew a walk. After a fielder’s choice, Queen’s Grant had runners on second and third with just one out. Andy Duran hit a deep drive to centerfield, but the Community School of Davidson outfielder made a diving grab that saved at least two runs.
The Spartans would get their chances in the late innings off Gorospe, Queen’s Grant starting pitcher.
In the sixth, Gorospe hit two batters and gave up a single to load the bases with one out. Ollenberger made a nice play at second to throw out a Spartan runner at home and Gorospe bared down and got out of the inning with a strikeout.
In the seventh, and with the Stallions still clinging to the 1-0 lead, Gorospe went back out for the shutout.
A throwing error led to a jam as Community School of Davidson had runners on second and third with one out.
Gorospe struck out the cleanup man and then got the No. 5 hitter to pop out to Smith in centerfield to end the game.
The win is the fifth in a row for the Stallions, who will play Lincoln Charter at home on May 10 in the second round of the 1A playoffs.