South Caldwell and Cary earned hard-fought wins on Monday to advance to the final day of the Junior Legion State Tournament on Tuesday at Henkel-Alley Field.
South Caldwell (3-1) and Cary (3-1) play Tuesday at 1 p.m. with the loser being eliminated.
Cary defeated South Caldwell, 8-5, in the second round of the Junior Legion tournament on Saturday.
The winner of the South Caldwell-Cary game will await West Johnston (3-1) in the second game of a Tuesday doubleheader 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Cary 5, Leland 4
After scoring one run in the second on three singles and sacrifice fly by Jonathan Newbold, Cary’s Patrick Graham led off the third inning with his third home run of the tournament to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead.
Cary’s Patrick Mason singled to lead off the third inning and scored on an two-base error in left field. David O’Donald added the fourth Bulls run on an RBI-single that scored Will Gilbert, who reached on the two-base error that Mason scored on.
Cary led the game 4-0, but Leland tied the game with four runs in the bottom of the fourth on five hits.
However, the Bulls scored the eventual winning run in top of the fourth. After three straight walks loaded the bases, a throwing error at third base allowed Newbold to score.
Bulls’ reliever John Kelly pitched 4.2 innings of shutout relief for Cary in the victory.
South Caldwell 10, West Johnston 7
West Johnston took a 2-0 lead on a two-run double by Tyler Marshburn in the first inning.
South Caldwell answered back with one run of their own in the bottom of first inning. Austin Miller led off the inning with a solo home run.
Caldwell scored three more runs in the second. Miller singled to plate a run and teammate Josh Bollinger doubled to scored two runs.
Four more runs scored in the third inning for South Caldwell on three hits. The biggest of those hits was a two-run single by Isaac Tilghman.
West Johnston cut into the 8-2 lead with two runs in the fourth inning.
Trey Lee led off the inning with a single and two batters later, Jack Sherrill singled. Lee scored on a groundout and Justin Carroll doubled to drive in Sherrill.
In the fifth inning, West Johnston’s Tripp Atkinson doubled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kodi Whitley.
After two outs by West Johnston in the sixth inning, Justin Carroll reached on an error and Marshburn walked to put runners on first and second. Atkinson and Whitley singled on the next two at-bats to score Carroll and Marshburn. That cut the lead down to one run, 8-7.
With the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, two walks added a pair of late insurance runs for South Caldwell.
West Johnston managed to get one runner on base in the seventh inning, but could not score three runs to come back and win.
Austin Miller went 2-for-4 from the plate, scoring three runs and driving in three runs for Caldwell in the victory.