Early onslaught, Browder’s slam sends Fike into second round

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Junior Chad Bean tossed 3 2/3 innings, and senior Garrett Browder’s third-inning grand slam capped an early surge from the Fike High varsity baseball team that produced a 9-1 victory over Cape Fear in the opening round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs Tuesday night at Gilbert Ferrell Field.

Fike, the Big East champion and the No. 3 seed in the 32-team East region, won its 20th game against one loss and will match up against conference foe Rocky Mount in the second round. Rocky Mount, the No. 19 seed, turned back No. 14 West Carteret 1-0 in the opening round.

The Golden Demons picked up the balance of their scoring with two runs in the first, three in the second and four in the third. Senior Zach Pittman, who was 3 for 4 with three RBIs, doubled home a run in the first and added a two-run single in the second. Browder, who has signed with Davidson College, gave Fike its separation in the third with his grand slam.

Junior Chad Bean won for the eighth time in as many decisions, lasting 3 2/3 innings and scattering four hits. He struck out six without a walk. 

James Sealey doubled home Cape Fear’s only run in the second that scored Seth Jackson, who singled.

Fike finished with senior Tanner Sullivan and junior Connor Jinks. Sullivan worked 2 1/3 innings and allowed one hit, while Jinks threw the seventh and allowed two hits.

The Demons outhit Cape Fear, the No. 30 seed which finished with a 14-8 record, by an 11-7 margin.

Score by innings:

Cape Fear 010 000 0 1

Fike 234 000 0 9

WP-Chad Bean (8-0) 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO. LP-Nick West 3 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO.

LEADING HITTERS — Fike: Zach Pittman 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI, Bryan Bunn 2-3, Garrett Browder 1-3, HR, 4 RBI; Cape Fear: Nick West 2-4, 3B, James Sealey 1-2, 2B, RBI, Cole Sutton 1-2, 2B.