Next month, the Carolina Hurricanes will start growing playoff beards, an annual ritual for the 16 NHL teams that achieved enough to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Right now around the Cedar Ridge baseball program, it’s Mustache March.

On April 6, the Red Wolves will face Eastern Alamance for its annual Vs. Cancer game at Cedar Ridge Field. In the past, that’s led to head coach Bryson Massey getting his head shaved for charity. This year, Massey is growing a mustache, which will be shaved next week for the home date against the Eagles.

“I told the guys I’ll grow my mustache until April 6,” Massey said after the Red Wolves defeated Northwood 7-1 last Tuesday in Hillsborough. “We’ve had some players join us in jumping on the train. They’ve grown some out, but I think mine’s takes the cake, though.”

Sophomore right fielder and pitcher Quinn Finnegan took the cake at the plate last week against the Chargers. Finnegan skied a solo homer to left field in the fifth inning, his first dinger of the season. That’s no small feat at Red Wolves Stadium, probably the most pitcher-friendly park in the Central Carolina Conference.

Coming off a loss to Person where the Red Wolves notched only two hits on March 17, Cedar Ridge had an offensive explosion last week. The day after they defeated Northwood, the Red Wolves journeyed to the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham and stockpiled 12 hits, tying its season-high set in the opener against Knightdale, in a 18-1 win over the Unicorns in five innings.

“We came out and played really well at Person,” Massey said. “We had our bats hot tonight (against Northwood). As for Person, I told the guys that’s just baseball. We threw a great game in the second game against Person. We just didn’t swing it as well.”

Senior B.J. Thornton, the Swiss Army knife of the Red Wolves, earned the win against the Chargers with eleven strikeouts over six innings. In addition to being Cedar Ridge’s regular starting pitcher in its rotation, Thornton also plays four defensive positions.

Finnegan drove in the opening run against the Chargers on an infield single that scored Grant McGuffey, who drew a leadoff walk. With Thornton at bat, Finnegan added to the Red Wolves lead when Thornton reached on a dropped third strike. On the throw to first, Finnegan came in to score as Thornton won the race to first.

Northwood struggled to gain traction against Thornton, who threw 59 of his 95 pitches for strikes. Northwood only had one runner touch third base in the opening six innings. Jacob Garrett reached on an infield single in the third, but was stranded after Thornton struck out Jackson Shaner to end the frame.

Against Science and Math, Cedar Ridge opened with a RBI single to right field by Mason Cates, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Four Red Wolves had multi-hit games. Finnegan had an RBI double to centerfield to score McGuffey in the third, then belted a three-run homer in the sixth to increase the Red Wolves lead to 18-1.

Finnegan finished the game against the Unicorns with five RBIs.

Sophomore Landon Dalehite opened the fourth inning with a double to right field and eventually scored off a sacrifice fly by McGuffey. In the fifth, Dalehite hit an RBI single that plated Thornton.

In addition to Cates’ single in the third, he doubled to left field in the fifth, bringing in McGuffey. On the day, McGuffey went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. He also earned the victory on the mound throwing three shutout innings. Ian McGuffey took the save throwing three innings of relief. Designated hitter Will Tippin went 1-for-2 with three runs scored.

With the second game of its two-game set for tonight against Orange at Cedar Ridge Field, the Red Wolves are in the thick of the 3A State Playoff hunt with the Eastern Alamance series set to start next Tuesday. Until then, Massey will continue to wear his mustache until it’s time to come off.

“I get some funny looks when I go out in public,” Massey said.

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