Charlotte Catholic baseball moves on to quarterfinals after shutting out No. 1 Cox Mill

The Charlotte Catholic baseball team has found a winning recipe.

When the Cougars have great pitching, play defense, and come up with timely hits, the scoreboard tilts in their favor.

Charlotte Catholic did all of those things in a 5-0 win at Cox Mill on Monday, eliminating the No. 1 team in The Observer’s Sweet 16 poll and the No. 6 seed in the western half of the playoffs.

Catholic (22-8) — No. 2 in The Sweet 16 and the No. 14 seed in the playoffs — is heading to the quarterfinal round, already a great result for a team that began the season 4-4 and lost two more games in a row before its current win streak. And that streak includes beating 4A power Providence in the Southwestern 4A championship game, and beating SoMECK tournament champion Myers Park, 6-3, on Friday.

“For this to be my first season with this group and wearing Catholic across my chest is really special,” Catholic coach Eddie Hull said. “In the modern era, we have never been this far in the playoffs.”

Hull’s team took control early Monday, in a game moved up a day to avoid expected rainy weather Tuesday.

Catholic’s Cooper Gornet slapped a single past the Cox Mill shortstop for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and that was all Cougars starter and Duke commit Jack Hedrick needed.

Hedrick worked out of a fifth-inning jam, but struck out six through 5.1 innings of no-hit ball before Cox Mill’s Colin Prit lined a single past the third baseman.

“Our rotation has been good and I think we feel really good going into next week,” Hedrick said. “When my guys have my back, my confidence definitely builds and we can be really good.”

To extend the scoring in the fourth inning, Catholic’s Evan McIntyre laced a bases-loaded single that scored two runs. Cox Mill starter Jackson Caldwell had a throwing error and a passed ball that gave the Cougars a 4-0 lead. Catholic added another run in the bottom of the sixth.

Three who made a difference

Jackson Caldwell, Cox Mill: The Cox Mill starter worked out of a few jams and struck out seven through 4.2 innings before being replaced.

Jack Hedrick, Charlotte Catholic: The Duke commit was dominant, striking out eight over 6.2 innings while allowing just one hit.

Evan McIntyre, Charlotte Catholic: The Cougars senior outfielder had the hit of the game, blooping a bases-loaded single that scored two runs.

What’s next

Catholic will play Alexander Central or Marvin Ridge in the 4A quarterfinals at home later this week.

PHOTOS: Charlotte Catholic at Cox Mill