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UCA pitcher Brett Smith

UCA stops Tigers for first tourney title

RANDLEMAN — When Uwharrie Charter Academy traveled to Randleman High School for a regular-season Piedmont Athletic Conference doubleheader in late March, the Eagles’ Brett Smith was unavailable to pitch. UCA had already had a league game earlier that week and Smith toed the rubber for that conference win.


Last Thursday night in the championship game of the PAC Tournament, Smith was available and the junior right-hander guided the Eagles to their first tournament title.


Smith hurled a complete game, giving up just one run with nine strikeouts as UCA captured a 6-1 title-clinching win over Randleman at RHS’ Joe Brookshire Field. The win was the 14th straight for the Eagles, the defending 1-A state champions, boosting their record to 20-5 heading into this week’s state tournament.


RHS fell to 19-5 with the setback.


“Tired and out of breath, but it feels good,” said Smith, who used 99 pitches in the win. “I just trusted my defense and knew what to do. I know they are a hitting team, so I just trusted my defense and hit spots.”


Using his fastball and changeup mostly, he surrendered seven hits, retiring 12 straight hitters at one point.


“Brett was outstanding and our defense was outstanding,” UCA coach Rob Shore said. “This is a huge relief. I felt the game would be close and if you would have told me we would win 6-1 … I know what type of team they are. They fight for every single pitch, just like our guys.”


RHS’ Jake Riddle, who pitched a 1-0 shutout over the Eagles in the regular season, retired the first 10 batters of the game before UCA used consecutive hits by Troy Carver, Trey Kennedy, Caleb Stickle and Carter Brown for a 1-0 lead. Grat Dalton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 2-0.


UCA added three runs in the fifth as Alex Carver hit a solo home run and Stickle and Brown drove in runs. UCA recorded seven of their nine hits in those two innings.


Four straight singles, including a run-scoring hit from Braxton Walker in the fifth, cut the RHS deficit to 4-1, but a 3-2-3 double play ended the inning. UCA’s Brown added his third hit of the game to score a run in the seventh.


“We were really good with two strikes tonight and four of our runs were scored with two outs,” Shore said.


Brown had three hits and Stickle two to lead UCA. 


The Tigers have scored just 20 runs in a streak that has seen them go 3-3.


“He (Smith) pitches well, throws strikes, we're just not very good offensively right now,” RHS coach Jake Smith said. “We work and do the right things. At some point, it has to continue over to the game and right now it’s just not translating. We’re not done yet. We have a new season that starts Tuesday.”


Seth Way and Walker had two hits each.