Chatham Charter baseball rallies to take down Chatham Central, 7-4, in 2nd round of 1A playoffs


SILER CITY — The Chatham Charter baseball team found itself in an unfamiliar position Friday night at home in the second round of the 1A state playoffs.

The Knights entered the state tournament with an overall record of 15-1 and took care of business in the first round with a 20-0 win over Southeast Halifax. But playing against a county rival in the Bears on Friday, head coach Bill Slaughter's team started in an early hole. Chatham Charter trailed by as many as three runs in the opening innings, but the Knights were able to rally over the middle frames to earn a 7-4 victory and advance to next week's third round.

Chatham Central (15-8) opened up the scoring Friday in the top of the first, as sophomore Matt Murchison drove in a run on a groundout and fellow sophomore Zane Overman plated another on a sac fly.

The Knights (17-1) cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by sophomore Zach Cartrette. Cartrette also got the start on the mound for Chatham Charter, but he was chased off the mound after giving up a two-run double to Central junior Anthony Lopossay in the top of the second.

Cartrette played third base after he was relieved on the mound and still contributed at the plate. In the bottom of the third, he cut into his team's deficit with another RBI single to make it 4-2. Sophomore Luke Johnson then hit another single to plate the Knights' third run of the game.

Two batters later, freshman Tyner Williams smacked an RBI single to right to tie the game, and fellow freshman Brandon Rives plated another run on a bunt single in the team's next at-bat to take the lead for the first time at 5-4. Chatham Charter would score one more run on a passed ball before Central got out of the jam.

The Knights' scored their final run in the bottom of the fourth on another passed ball, and from there until the end of the game it was the stellar pitching of Chatham Charter's relievers that shut the door.

Coming on in relief of Cartrette, Johnson and junior Aidan Allred combined to throw five scoreless innings while striking out four batters and allowing just three hits. Central got its first runner on in the top of the seventh on an Overman single, but Allred retired the next three batters in order to end the game.

The win moves Chatham Charter to 17-1 overall on the season. This is the most wins the Knights have had in one year since going 18-5 overall back in 2018.

Chatham Charter will host East Wake Academy on Tuesday in the third round of the 1A tournament. The last time the Knights played the Eagles was way back in 2014.

Chatham Central, meanwhile, ends its season at 15-8 overall. Head coach Brett Walden's team has had five straight full seasons with records of .500 or better. 

Over the offseason, the Bears will graduate two seniors — Hasten Paige and Travis Crissman. Coming into Friday night's game, Paige was batting .365 with 27 hits and 15 RBI, while Crissman was batting .371 with 26 hits and 17 RBI.

baseball, chatham charter, chatham central, bears, knights, state playoffs, NCHSAA, 1A, zach cartrette