Hawks eye share of league baseball crown

by Aaron Garcia, Chris Hunt and C. Jemal Horton

By battling to a 15-4 overall record, the West Mecklenburg High baseball team has cemented itself as one of the top squads in the county. But really, said Hawks coach Mike Carpino, the season will come down to the final three games of the schedule.

Entering their May 3 game against Harding, the Hawks needed to close out their slate with wins over the Rams, East Gaston (Friday, May 6) and Olympic (Monday, May 9) in order to secure a share of the MEGA 7 3A/4A conference title.

West Meck has won nine of its past 10 games, including a victory over Southwestern 4A conference contender Butler.

“(A win against Butler) helps keep (the players’) mind-set that they can play with anybody, and those are the exact types of teams we’ll see in the playoffs,” noted Carpino.

West Meck third baseman Langdon Rawls’ .435 batting average and seven doubles lead the team, while catcher Nick McGee has knocked in a team-high 25 runs to go with his .375 average.

Matt Davenport and Dalton Shaw have also been solid, both on the mound and at the plate; Davenport is batting .400 and has amassed a 6-2 record with 31 strikeouts, while Shaw is hitting .350 with a 6-0 record and 63 strikeouts. Outfielder Steven Ryle has been “clutch” in the second spot in the order, said Carpino, while shortstop Bryan Thomas has done a good job of anchoring the infield.

The MEGA 7 won’t play a conference tournament, meaning the conference’s regular-season standings will be used to determine each team’s playoff seeding.

“Let’s hope we can sustain this,” Carpino said. “It’ll make it a special year if we can do this and pull off the conference championship. Then, who knows? Maybe we can go a couple of rounds in the playoffs.”

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