SYLVA — Ashe County senior pitcher Joseph Lowder held Smoky Mountain (18-6) to just three hits, but the sixth seeded Mustangs still found a way to beat the Huskies, 3-1.
The Mustangs, a young team that starts just three senior players, advanced to the second round where they fill face off against East Lincoln. East Lincoln pulled off an upset win over 11th seeded Mountain Heritage in the first round, 3-1.
Smoky Mountain senior Jack Ridenour had a hit and an RBI. Sophomore Tristen Kenyon had a hit and scored a run. Sophomore Tyler Walizer recorded the third and final hit for the Mustangs. Junior Bryce Junaluska and junior Matthew Ridley each had runs scored.
On the mound, junior Cole Hooper pitched a complete game giving up one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. Hooper has been almost unhittable for Smoky Mountain all season long. He currently holds an earned run average of 1.31 and has struck out 94 batters in 64 innings on the mound on the way to an 8-2 record.
For Ashe, their season finished up with a record of 11-13 overall.
The Huskies will say goodbye to seven seniors from this year’s team: Joseph Lowder, Kendall Richardson, Bradley Richie, Ben Brown, Garrett Miller, Nate Berry an Alex Kissinger.