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By Sonny Jones

Wow! What a performance by East Bladen’s Zach Meares. A one-hit, 14-strikeout, 97-pitch 5-0 shutout of perennial power Whiteville on Friday.

In this football-like high school baseball season where teams are playing each other only once in Three Rivers Conference play instead of twice, it’s a doubly important victory.

East Bladen opened its season April 27 with a 5-4, 8-inning, come-from-behind win against the Wolfpack in a nonconference game at Russell Priest Field. It was the first time the Eagles had beaten Whiteville since 2010. No idea if East Bladen has beaten Whiteville twice in the same season.

What happens next for the Eagles? A day after beating Whiteville on April 27, East Bladen lost to West Columbus 8-5 in a lethargic performance. East Bladen is scheduled to play at South Columbus on Tuesday.

• West Bladen lost a 5-4 decision at Fairmont in its conference baseball opener Friday, but there were some encouraging signs. It was the first time in six games the Knights had allowed less than 13 runs. If West Bladen can get improved pitching and defense, it can be a factor in the playoff chase.

• West Bladen’s lone win was 17-14 against West Columbus. West Columbus beat East Bladen 8-5. Whiteville beat West Columbus 16-0. East Bladen beat West Bladen 14-4. East Bladen has beaten Whiteville twice. Go figure!

• Carrboro, which eliminated East Bladen 9-0 in the third round of the state soccer playoffs, lost 5-0 to Lake Norman Charter in the 2-A championship game. Other state champions were Charlotte Myers Park in 4-A, Concord Cox Mill in 3-A and Community School of Davidson in 1-A.

• West Stanly won the 2-A softball championship, beating South Granville in two games to cap a 20-0 season. Other state champions were Wilmington Hoggard in 4-A, Southern Alamance in 3-A and Camden County in 1-A.

• Hockey may not be a closely followed sport around these parts, but if you’re not watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, then you’re missing some great action. Four of the first five playoff games were decided in overtime and Tampa Bay scored the game-winner against Florida with about a minute left in regulation. It’s intense, physical and fun to watch.

The Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Central Division, host the Nashville Predators at 8 p.m. today in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series. Tune in on CNBC or Bally Sports South and check it out.

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