Champions Live Here
The No. 1 sports story of 2017 | Currituck girls golf, Edenton baseball win state championships
Edenton's and Currituck's titles is the No. 1 story of 2017
By Malcolm Shields
Sunday, December 31, 2017
It was a year of firsts for the Currituck girls golf team and the John A. Holmes baseball team.
In recent years, both teams have had success in the state playoffs, but both reached the pinnacle this year.
The Lady Knights and Aces both won state championships.
And for both programs, it was their first state championship in their respective sports.
From the first day of spring, Edenton was tabbed as a favorite to make a run at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A state championship on the diamond.
The Aces returned an experienced club that the previous spring lost in the 2A East Regional final to the eventual state runner-up South Granville in two games in the 2016 Eastern final series.
During the 2017 regular season, the Aces dominated.
Led by then seniors Matt Benfield, Patrick Downum and Dylan Patrick, Edenton did not lose a game to a school in the Daily Advance’s coverage area and posted an undefeated record in the Northeastern Coastal Conference to cruise to the league championship.
The Aces clinched the No. 2 seed in the East Region for the 2A state playoffs.
Edenton had its best performances of the season in the state tournament.
After winning its first-round game against Wheatmore 4-0, Benfield pitched a complete-game no-hitter against Washington High School in the Aces’ 7-0 victory in the second round at Hicks Field.
Edenton defeated Roanoke Rapids 2-1 in the third round and knocked off North Lenoir 5-2 in the fourth round to advance to the regional final.
Waiting for the Aces in the regional final was a familiar foe, No. 1 seed South Granville.
In Game 1 of the best-of-three series at South Granville, Patrick pitched six innings and nursed the Aces’ 1-0 lead.
The Vikings tied the game at 1-all in the seventh to send the contest to extra innings.
Patrick hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to power the Aces to the 3-1 lead and a 1-0 series lead.
In Game 2 in Edenton, the Aces jumped out on the Vikings.
Downum pitched a complete-game to lift the Aces to the 5-0 win and the East Regional championship.
The Aces swept South Granville 2-0 to advance to the state championship series at Five County Stadium in Zebulon.
Patrick got the ball in Game 1 of the state championship series against the 2A West Regional champion, R-S Central.
The senior pitched a complete-game as the Aces took a 1-0 series led with a 3-1 victory.
Benfield matched Patrick effort on the mound with a complete-game in Game 2 as the Aces clinched the series and the 2A crown with a 7-2 victory on June 3.
Patrick was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2A state championship series.
Edenton finished the season with a 28-3 record and only lost one game to a North Carolina team, which was to Williamston-Riverside on March 21.
The Aces ended the season with a 13-game winning streak.
The Lady Knights had experienced success with a 2016 1A/2A East Regional championship, but finished sixth at the state meet.
Currituck not only clinched the regional title this fall, but cruised to the NCHSAA 1A/2A state championship at Longleaf Golf and Country Club on Oct. 24.
The Lady Knights shot a 273 on Day 1 and followed with a 278 to win the title by 29 strokes over second place Mount Airy on the par 72 course.
Bailee Twiford led the Lady Knights with a 157 over two days.
Twiford, a junior, finished in third place overall.
First Flight’s Katherine Schuster won the individual state title by shooting even 144 over two days.
Twiford also finished second at the East Regional behind Schuster.
Seniors Britney Tyndall and Sarah Conley were also key contributors to the title.
Tyndall finished tied for 29th, while Conley was 42nd at the state meet.