SKYLAND – The sweetest run of all for Roberson was the one it made through the Mountain Athletic Conference.
Baseball is a funny game, and a team is bound to trip up somewhere along the way.
Not the Rams (21-3, 12-0).
They are the only Western North Carolina team in their sport to reach 20 wins this spring, and won every one of their dozen conference games.
How rare is that perfection? It hasn’t happened previously in coach Eric Filipek’s six seasons. Roberson was even the second-place team in the MAC the last year it won a state championship (2002).
“It’s a great feeling. All of the work that everyone put in during the offseason is paying off,” senior first baseman Bryce Ballew said.
“That’s where it all starts.”
Vanderbilt recruit Garrett Blaylock was 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs in Friday’s regular-season finale at Asheville High. He was also the first of three three Rams pitchers in an 11-0 shutout. Blaylock got the win, going two innings with four strikeouts. He didn’t give up a walk and only allowed one hit. Devin Dickens and Jack Galbraith came on in relief.
Other leaders at the plate for the Rams were Holden Upright (2-for-4 with one RBI), Trenton Davis (1-4 with two RBIs), Jacob McCarthy (1-1 with a triple and an RBI) and Ballew (three RBIs).
Jack Whitehouse and Jared Patterson each went 1-2 for Asheville (9-12, 4-8).
The game only lasted five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
His final season of high school baseball has been bittersweet for Roberson catcher Bo Wiggins. Wiggins had to turn over his spot in the Rams’ battery to Aaron McKeithan after having preseason surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Wiggins has contributed to the team in any way he can since then, and the senior was once again in the dugout Friday.
“There’s a bunch of things that go into a team like we have,” Wiggins said.
“A lot of the guys are involved in working with (Roberson’s Progressive Education Program) and there’s a lot of bonding that comes with that. I’ve never experienced a team that is as close as this one.”
The best-of-three MAC 4-A tournament between the Rams and McDowell begins Tuesday night in Marion. Game 1 is at 7 p.m. Game 2 is then Wednesday in Skyland with Game 3 (if necessary) to follow at 7.
Roberson swept the regular-season series, but a March 15 game at McDowell wasn’t easy. The Rams had to rally for five runs in the seventh inning to beat the Titans on their home field, 7-5.