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Jake Hunter of Uwharrie Charter Academy pitches against Eastern Randolph.    Eric Abernethy/Randolph Hub

UCA uses its ‘secret weapon’ to get back in state finals

MOUNT AIRY — With Jake Hunter and Brett Smith leading the pitching staff, there hasn’t been much of a need for others to toe the rubber for Uwharrie Charter Academy this season. However, coach Rob Shore said all along, he had plenty of more arms that were more than just capable.


Logun Wilkins was one of those Shore was talking about and did the junior right-hander ever deliver in Game 3 of the West Regional championship series Saturday evening at Mount Airy High School.


Wilkins hurled a complete-game shutout and the Eagles scored three times in the fifth inning and then broke the game wide open with a nine-run seventh for a 12-0 victory, earning the Eagles an opportunity to defend the state 1-A title they won last season.


UCA, which won Game 1 4-0 and then was shut out in Game 2 in a 1-0 final, improved to 26-6 with their 20th win in the past 21 games. The No. 2 seeded Eagles will play No. 3 Northside Pinetown (22-6) in the title series beginning Friday night in Burlington or Holly Springs.


Wilkins allowed just five hits. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.


“Logun is a secret weapon not a lot of people know about,” Shore said. “What a great job by Logun who I knew was ready for the moment. He doesn’t care who we play. He wants the ball.”


Wilkins has closed a few of the playoff wins for the Eagles, but took the starter’s role Saturday.


“I was really excited,” he said about the game. “(This is the) last year playing with my brother (Walker) and I just want to go out and win another state championship with him.”


While both teams played well defensively in the first two games of the series, it was a pair of throwing errors that led to a three-run fifth. Caleb Stickle had an RBI double in the inning and the Bears chipped in with a couple of wild pitches as well. 


All three runs scored with two outs.


Still nursing that 3-0 lead, UCA sent 14 hitters to the plate in the seventh, getting RBIs from Jose Ramirez and Jake Hunter before a two-run double by Troy Carver and a three-run double from Stickle. Carter Brown and Landon Zephir also had hits in the inning.


“We had some mental mistakes that created some outs early on, but I knew if we held on and Logun was throwing strikes, we would be OK,” said Shore about four innings of scoreless baseball. “We had a business deal today. This was our business and we showed up and did our job.”


Stickle had three hits while Hunter and Carver added two each as UCA finished with 11 hits overall.