Two local players head to NCAA baseball tournament

Pinecrest alums RJ Sales, Colby Wallace hope to reach Omaha
Colby Wallace celebrates after scoring a walk-off run in the playoffs during his junior year at Pinecrest (David Sinclair)

The NCAA baseball tournament starts this weekend, and a pair of graduates from county high schools will be competing to make the College World Series in Omaha.

Ten local players were on a college baseball team at some level this season. Two of them are still standing as the tourney shifts into gear at 16 sites around the nation.

RJ Sales, a member of Pinecrest’s class of 2021, will be leading UNC Wilmington into the tournament. Sales, who won conference player of the year while leading the Patriots to the Sandhills Conference championship as a senior, is a redshirt sophomore for the Seahawks. He earned his second career berth on the CAA All-Conference first team after going 10-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 15 starts this season. He struck out 87 in 87.2 innings and opposing batters hit just .212 against him. For his career, he is 16-4 with a 3.61 ERA.

UNCW opens play on Friday against Georgia Tech at the Athens, Ga. subregional.

Colby Wallace, a shortstop and pitcher for the Patriots who graduated last year, is in his first season with East Carolina. He was a three-time conference pitcher of the year in high school but has played more as a position player this season, starting 16 games in the field and playing in 30. He was 18-for-69 at the plate with 15 runs, 6 RBIs and a .261 average with .667 OPS.

On the mound, he appeared in 3 games, going 2-0 and striking out 4 in 5 innings.

ECU hosts a regional and will open play with Evansville on Friday. ECU opens as the No. 16 national seed.

By North State Journal Staff

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