It was a tight race to the top in the Harnett County Middle Schools baseball conference, with Dunn and Harnett Central finishing tied for first at 10-2 overall.
Both head-to-head meetings were closely fought. The first game was a back-and-forth battle, with Central coming out on top 8-7. The Raiders went ahead in the bottom of the sixth after Jahlil Cates Surles led off with a single and Jackson Hawkins brought him home with an RBI double.
The second game was a pitchers’ duel between Dunn’s Anthony Jones and Central’s Nick Paterno. Jones was solid, going the full seven innings and giving up just one unearned on one hit while striking out 10. But Paterno was able to hold the Greenwaves scoreless, allowing no runs on one hit while striking out seven over six innings. Kaleb Watkins closed out the final inning to preserve the win and put Central in the driver’s seat.
But Dunn was able to get a little bit of help from rival Coats-Erwin. The Falcons topped Central 18-1 in the first meeting. After Dunn beat Coats-Erwin 12-2 and 18-1 in back-to-back meetings, the Falcons turned around and beat the Raiders again, 4-1. That left both Dunn and Central with a pair of losses. Had Coats-Erwin not lost its third game to Western Harnett, there would have been a three-way tie for first place.
This year’s title marks a back-to-back for Central, who won it all last season.