MOUNT GILEAD — Jon Cagle struck out 15, and the Granite Bears beat West Montgomery 5-2 on the road.
Mount Airy (13-8) had to travel to Mount Gilead despite West Montgomery having the worse record at 10-13.
Now the Bears advance to the second round of the state 1A playoffs to face Alleghany Saturday at 7 p.m. The Trojans (15-5) beat North Stokes 6-2.
“It was a good, clean ball game,” said Bear coach Jon Cawley. “We had some timely hitting. Jon Cagle hit well. Clay Welch came up with a big single with guys on second and third to drive in the last two runs.”
An overlooked skill, the Bears bunted the ball well in this game, according to the coach.
The first run came after Cagle hit a double and Wes Bumgarner sacrificed him over to third.
Then Welch hit a comebacker to the mound, and on the throw to first, Cagle raced home and beat the relay.
The game had a quick pace, and neither team made many miscues, according to Cawley.
“Cagle was masterful on the mound, struck out 15,” he said. “They played really good defense behind him.”
With 15 strikeouts, the only outs the defense needed were three fly balls, two grounders to short and one grounder to third.
West managed four hits, but they were all seeing-eye singles through the infield, said Cawley.
All four hits and a walk happened in the third inning and allowed West to score twice.
As for the next opponent, Cawley noted that Mount Airy twice was scheduled to face Alleghany, but the weather knocked out the dates.