ASHEBORO — Pitching is the key to winning a championship and right now the Rockingham Pony team is getting more than its fair share of solid work on the mound.
Rockingham is the only undefeated team in the East Zone South Region Piedmont Section tournament in Asheboro.
Rockingham opened the tournament with a 6-1 victory over Asheboro Wednesday night. Three pitchers combined to limit Asheboro to just one hit in the win.
Drew Loving started the game and pitched three innings. He didn’t allow a hit or issue a walk and struck out eight. The only run Asheboro scored in the contest came against Loving and was unearned.
Drew Grant relieved Loving and also pitched three innings without surrendering a walk or a hit. Grant also had eight strikeouts. Justin Ingram picked up the save, allowing a hit, walking two and recording a strikeout in his one inning of work.
Alex Anderson, Tyler Blount, Cameron Carraway and Chase Puckett as well as Grant and Loving all notched a hit in the victory. Anderson, Blount, Grant and Puckett all had a run batted in.
Rockingham squared off with Bennett Thursday night and pulled out a 3-0 win behind a strong pitching performance by Ingram.
Ingram hurled a complete-game two-hitter, surrendering two walks and striking out seven. Nolan Allen and Ingram had the only hits for Rockingham. Blount, Loving and Puckett all had RBIs.
“We have been playing good defense, I think we had turned something like three or four double plays tonight,” Rockingham coach Jeff Ingram said after the win over Bennett. “Our pitchers been good, but we’re not scoring any runs. The way we are pitching and playing defense, we don’t have to score too many runs.”
Rockingham will return to action 6 p.m. today against Asheboro before battling Bennett in the nightcap at 8 p.m.
The winner of the tournament, which will be determined by overall won-loss record, will advance to the East Zone Pony Region next week in Davidson.
West Raleigh Red wins tourney
ROCKINGHAM — The West Raleigh Red team pulled out a 7-3 victory over Western Branch Gold to capture the Pony League East Zone Mustang Region tournament Thursday night.
West Raleigh went through the event undefeated and will advance to East Zone tournament next week in Chesterfield, Virginia.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.