Orange baseball’s Josiah Gibbs & Wyatt Hedrick discuss playoff win over Eastern Alamance

After a stunning win over Cedar Ridge in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs last week, the Orange baseball team didn’t have any time for drama against Eastern Alamance in the second round. The Panthers scored seven runs in the opening inning and rolled to a 19-1 win over the Eagles on Friday night to advance to the third round of the state playoffs for the third straight year. Senior third baseman Wyatt Hedrick drove in a career-high seven runs as he finished 4-for-4. That included a two-run single to left field in the third and a high fly ball that bounced off the 2008 2A State Championship banner in right field that plated Ryan Honeycutt and Henry Hoffman. Senior pitcher Josiah Gibbs earned his 18th career win, throwing five innings to improve to 8-0 on the season. Gibbs struck out three and finished the night with 68 pitches. The Panthers now have to win their way back into another home game. They will venture to Fayetteville on Wednesday night to face the Terry Sanford Bulldogs, the co-champions of the All-Americans Conference. The Bulldogs have only one loss since the end of March, which happened against 4A power D.H. Conley. The winner of Orange-Terry Sanford will move into the state quarterfinals.

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Orange Panther of the Week: Ryan Horton

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is senior catcher Ryan Horton. This season, Horton is tied for the team lead for home runs. On March 26, Horton hit two home runs as Orange defeated Northern Guilford 8-4. He became the first Orange player to hit two home runs in a game since Dante DeFranco did it against Northern Durham in 2019. Against Western Alamance on March 25, Horton went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, including a two-run double in the sixth inning that paved the way for Orange’s first conference win. Horton had a two-run double against Cedar Ridge in a 10-4 win at Red Wolves Field. This season, Horton is hitting .359 and leads the team with 17 RBIs. He has been Orange’s starting catcher the past two years and provided valuable experience on offense after the Panthers lost six starters from last year. Horton had an RBI single against Southern Alamance on Friday night, which put the Panthers back in a tie for first place in the Central Conference. Last week, Horton went 3-for-4 on senior night as the Panthers defeated Voyager Academy. Against Person on April 27, Horton went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the first inning. After he graduates from Orange next month, Horton will attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

Orange Panther of the Week: Ryan Horton

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McGuffey’s RBI single scores game-winning run as Cedar Ridge baseball rallies past Western Alamance 3-1

On Cedar Ridge’s senior night, it was the McGuffey twins who paved the way for a Red Wolves win.

Grant McGuffey hit the game-winning single to score Nicholas Aitkin as the Red Wolves scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat Western Alamance 3-1 at Red Wolves Field. The Red Wolves outhit the Warriors 9-3, but finally got timely hitting in the sixth to push across the elusive run.

Ian McGuffey was the star of the night for the Red Wolves. The sophomore earned the win allowing only two hits over six-plus innings, conceding just one run. In the sixth inning, Ian helped his own cause with a line drive single to left field with one hit as Cedar Ridge trailed 1-0.

After Ian reached, John Grove walked. It led to Aitkin belting a line drive down the left field line to score McGuffey to tie the game. Grant McGuffey sent a 1-1 fastball dead up the middle to put the Red Wolves in the lead for the first time, scoring Grove. Aidan Ryan reached on an infield single.

In his final at-bat on Senior Night, Mason Cates sent a grounder to left field for a crucial insurance run, bringing in Aitkin.

Ian McGuffey walked Nicholas Sykes to open the seventh, but Gabriel Davis lined out to Aitkin at short. Junior Quinn Finnegan, who earned the win for Cedar Ridge on Wednesday night against Chapel Hill, replaced McGuffey on the mound and struck out Johnny Curtis. Cooper Marks grounded into a fielder’s choice where Aitkin touched second base to retire Marks for the final out.

It was Finnegan’s second save of the season. Finnegan had a save in Cedar Ridge’s conference opening win at Walter Williams on March 15. The victory over the Warriors was Cedar Ridge’s final conference game of the year. They finished with a sweep in the two-game series over the Warriors, finishing 6-6 in the Central Conference, which appears set to have all seven of its teams make the 3A State Playoffs.

The Warriors scored its only run in the first inning when Marks touched the plate following a single by Sykes. After that, Hudson Kelly turned a 5-4-3 double play to wrap up the first. McGuffey was dominant on the mound for the remainder of the game, not allowing another hit until the seventh inning.

Up until the fifth inning, the game had been frustrating for the Red Wolves. They were never retired in order but were blanked in the opening six innings. Its biggest threat came in the fifth when senior Kevin Jones drew a leadoff walk. Kelly drilled a one-out double to left field, but Jones was thrown out at the plate to keep the Warriors ahead.

Seniors Mason Cates, Landon Dalehite, Kevin Jones, Joel Davis and Rayshawn Page were honored before the game by head coach Bryson Massey.

Orange Panther of the Week: Freddy Sneed

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is junior basketball forward Freddy Sneed. With no limits to his versatility, Sneed could help the Orange men’s basketball team in any number of ways. As Coleman Cloer and Kai Wade handled most of the scoring load for the bulk of a championship season, Sneed became a valuable presence defensively. Early in the year, Cloer was sidelined with an ankle injury. Sneed stepped up on offense. He scored 16 points in Orange’s season-opening win over Hillside. Sneed also stole an inbounds pass that led to the game-winning 3-pointer from Malakai Poole. Sneed finished the game with 16 points, five steals and four rebounds. Sneed proved to be a valuable presence throughout the season as Orange won its first regular season championship since 2017 and its first postseason conference tournament title since 2016. Against Eastern Alamance on February 16, Sneed totaled ten points, seven rebounds and six steals. In the Central Conference Tournament championship game, Sneed finished with eight points and six rebounds. Sneed has been a member of the varsity since his freshman year under the direction of head coach Derryl Britt and will continue to be a vital part of Orange basketball into his senior year in 2024-2025 as the Panthers look to repeat as conference champions.

Orange Panther of the Week: Freddie Sneed

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Orange soccer’s Elliana Sullivan Gaddy, Makayla Davis & Kaylen Crayton discuss win over Cedar Ridge

It wasn’t just another edition of the Hillsborough Derby between the Orange and Cedar Ridge women’s soccer teams at Red Wolves Stadium. It was possibly the highest scoring game ever between the two teams. Orange scored three goals in the opening six minutes, then got the Elliana Sullivan Gaddy scored the game-winning goal for the Lady Panthers with 38:54 remaining in regulation as Orange won 7-5 over the Red Wolves. Sullivan Gaddy finished with four goals, bringing her total to nine on the season. Senior Ella Wimsatt finished with two goals and two assists. Cedar Ridge junior Fleury Nicholson finished with four goals, including a penalty kick in the second half that brought the Red Wolves within one goal. Wimsatt cashed in the final goal for Orange with 46 seconds remaining on a goal from Cora Bailey. Senior Makayla Davis earned the win as the goalkeeper for Orange. There was solid defensive play by freshman Kaylen Crayton, who plays on the backline with her sister, senior Lily Crayton. Orange’s Caroline Cathey scored a goal to put the Lady Panthers ahead 2-1 early. Orange is now 4-2, 2-1 in the Central Conference. They will face Southern Alamance in Graham next Monday. Cedar Ridge will host Northern Durham on Wednesday night at Red Wolves Stadium. 

Orange Soccer’s Elliana Sullivan Gaddy, Makayla Davis & Kaylen Crayton talk win over Cedar Ridge

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Orange lacrosse’s Connor Kruse, Brandon Williams and Josh Crabtree discuss wild win over Pinecrest

Midway through the season and the Orange lacrosse team is off to its best start in team history. The Panthers are 10-0 after beating Southern Alamance last week in Graham. This week, the Panthers will face a stiff test in Holly Springs, a 4A team that beat the Panthers 16-4 last year. Orange has already beaten three 4A teams this year. Last month, Orange journeyed to Pinehurst and came away with a wild win over Pinecrest 10-9 in overtime. Sophomore Brandon Williams scored the game-winning goal off an assist from Connor Kruse. Orange trailed 9-5 with 11:48 remaining in regulation, but Williams led a comeback. He scored four goals, Josh Crabtree tied the game with 1:04 remaining in regulation when he scored off a rebound from a shot fired by Kruse. Orange overcame three penalties in the final minute of regulation and got strong defensive play from defenseman Sascha Van Praag and goalkeeper Jackson Runkle, who played in the fourth quarter and alternated with starter Katie Wolter. Kruse assisted on four goals. On Friday night, Orange will return to conference play to face crosstown rival Cedar Ridge. Orange is going for its fourth consecutive Mid-Carolina Conference championship and is currently ranked the #1 team in the East Region in the 3A/2A/1A classification.

Orange’s lacrosse’s Connor Kruse, Josh Crabtree & Brandon Williams talk with over Pinecresst

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Orange baseball’s Jaden Bradsher & Oliver Van Tiem discuss win over Western Alamance

It was a strong bounce back performance for the Orange baseball team in the second game of its series against Western Alamance on Monday night. After losing to the Warriors last week in Elon, the Panthers defeated the Warriors 10-1 for its first Central Conference victory of the season. Freshman Kayden Bradsher started the game with a triple to right centerfield and would score the opening run off a groundout by Cameron Guentensberger. Freshman Oliver Van Tiem hit the first home run of his Panther career with a solo blast in the second inning. Orange jumped on mistakes by the Warriors, who committed six errors. Bradsher has been the leadoff hitter for all nine of Orange’s games. He finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Van Tiem has also played in all nine games and earned the start on the mound against Northern Guilford on Tuesday. Van Tiem had two RBIs against the Warriors. Bradsher was also a starter at wide receiver for the Orange football team last fall. The Panthers are 1-1 in the Central Conference and will face Cedar Ridge on Tuesday night at Red Wolves Field. The Panthers will host Cedar Ridge at Panther Field next Friday to conclude a crucial two-game series.

Orange baseball’s Kaden Bradsher & Oliver Van Tiem discuss win over Western Alamance

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Orange lacrosse Connor Kruse discusses 200th career assist in win vs. Northwood.

Orange senior Connor Kruse had already etched his name into the Orange High lacrosse record books a long time ago. Now, he has put his name into the national record books. On Monday night, Kruse tied a national record by registering 16 assists in Orange’s 18-5 win over Southern Alamance at Redmond Stadium in Graham. Kruse tied the record set by Ryan Stadiumelmaier of Midland-Dow High School in Michigan set in 2022. Along the way, Kruse became the first player in Orange history to surpass 400 points. Last week, Kruse became the first player to eclipse 200 career assists in Orange’s 14-1 win over Northwood at Auman Stadium. Kruse finished with one goal and three assists against the Chargers. After its win over the Patriots, the Panthers improved to 10-0, 7-0 in the Mid-Carolina Conference. Last winter, Kruse signed to play with Lenoir-Rhyne, which won the Division II National Championship last year in Philadelphia. Against Northwood, senior Bryce Nelson earned a gaol. Earning the win as goalkeeper was freshman Jackson Runkle, who played all 48 minutes. Runkle recently finished his first season with Orange wrestling. Orange lacrosse is off for the rest of this week to enjoy spring break. In the meantime, they will prepare for a difficult 4A opponent, Holly Springs, on April 4. 

Orange lacrosse’s Connor Kruse, Bryce Nelson & Jackson Runkle discuss win over Northwood

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Orange baseball’s Ryan Horton and Garrett Sawyer discuss win over Topsail

The Orange baseball team starts conference play this week with plenty of momentum. Last week, the Panthers posted back-to-back shutout wins over Northwood and Grimsley. It’s been a strong start for catcher Ryan Horton, who hit his first varsity home run in a 4-1 victory over Topsail on March 4. Horton hit a grand slam in the sixth inning to win the game for the Panthers. Last week, Horton belted a RBI double to conclude a three-run first inning as the Panthers rolled past Grimsley 12-0. Horton also had a bases-loaded walk to drive in Wyatt Hedrick during an eight-run third inning. Junior pitcher Garrett Sawyer earned his second career win in the victory over Topsail. Sawyer relieved senior Cross Clayton and threw four shutout innings, allowing just three this. He struck out seven. Sawyer played his first varsity game last year in the state playoffs against Triton and was part of a memorable rally where the Panthers came back from five runs down to beat the Hawks 9-8 in ten innings. Horton is one of the few returning starters playing the same position that he played in 2023. Against Northwood on Wednesday, Horton had a single as the Panthers won 5-0. Orange will travel to Western Alamance for its Central Conference opener in Elon on Tuesday night.


Orange baseball’s Ryan Horton & Garrett Sawyer discuss win over Topsail

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