ROCKINGHAM — Rockingham 12’s Kade Stewart was ho-hum about his accomplishment, while his teammates and coaches were excited.
Stewart tossed his first career no-hitter to lead his team past Rockingham 11 19-0 Wednesday afternoon in an elimination game of the Pony League Bronco Piedmont Section tournament.
Stewart issued one walk, hit a batter and struck out four over five innings.
After the game, Evan Hudson chased Stewart down to dump water on him to celebrate his no-hitter. Stewart took the whole event in stride.
“I hadn’t thrown one before,” Stewart said. “It feels good.”
There is a superstition in baseball of not telling a pitcher he is throwing a no-hitter to avoid jinxing him, that wasn’t the case in the Rockingham 12 dugout.
“The whole team told me,” Stewart said. “All the coaches and the other kids told me.”
Stewart retired the first 11 batters he faced before hitting Justice Buie with a pitch with two outs in the fourth. Stewart promptly picked Buie off first to the end inning.
In the fifth, Stewart walked Austin Long, but coaxed Jay Ammons to hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Gavis Russell reached on an error before Stewart closed out the game and his no-no by getting the final out on a ground ball.
Stewart didn’t need much offensive support, but he got it as Rockingham 12 pounded out 21 hits in the victory. Bryson Lampley, Zach Mabe and Hudson all had three hits. Mabe finished with four runs batted in.
Logan Moore had the biggest hit of the contest — a grand slam. Moore connected on his home run in the bottom of the fourth to close out the scoring for Rockingham 12.
Rockingham 11 had its season end. Joey Bostick, the team’s coach, said he was proud of the way his team competed against the older competition.
“We could have played in High Point (in a Bronco 11 tournament), but the kids wanted to play in front of their families,” Bostick said. “I thought Justice pitched well. I thought Antonio (Hines) pitched very well. River Meachum tried to pitch with a swollen hand. I thought my subs went in and did a good job. I believe this team is going to be good next year.”
Southwest Randolph ousts Rockingham 12
In Wednesday’s nightcap, Southwest Randolph held off Rockingham 12 to win 9-3 in an elimination game.
Rockingham 12 appeared set for a possible big inning in the first after Stewart and Austin singled with one out. Lampley hit a grounder between second and third, but Southwest Randolph shortstop Braxton Davis was able to field the ball deep in the hole and force Stewart at third. Logan Moore walked to load the bases and Blaine Robson drew another walk to force in Austin.
Southwest Randolph escaped further trouble when starting pitcher Dawson Davis coaxed Bryson Saunders to fly out to shallow right.
“That could have been a big inning for us,” Rockingham 12 coach Mike Hudson said. “We would get hits here and there.”
Southwest Randolph responded with three runs in its half of the first as Braxton Davis notched a two-run single and Camden Walker scored a run on a ground out.
After falling behind 6-1, Rockingham 12 rallied to score two runs in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of two Southwest Randolph errors.
It was as close as Rockingham 12 would get as Southwest Randolph reliever Luke Dalke hurled two scoreless innings to pick up the save.
“Today’s effort was 100 percent better than the effort we put up against West Raleigh yesterday,” Mike Hudson said. “I would have liked to have played like this all week.”
The two remaining undefeated teams — Garner and West Raleigh — in the tournament will square off at 5 p.m. Thursday. The loser will face Southwest Randolph in an elimination contest at 7 p.m.
Rockingham Pony team splits
HIGH POINT — The Rockingham Pony team won its first game of the Pony Host Area tournament in High Point Wednesday night.
Rockingham knocked off Henry County 2 13-1 in five innings in a rain-delayed contest. The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed after the top of the first because of rain.
After defeating Henry County 2, Rockingham remained on the field to face Huntsville. The contest went into extra innings and Huntsville pulled out a 6-5 victory in nine innings.
Rockingham will return to action 8 p.m. Thursday against the winner of the Summerfield-Henry County 2 game.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.