10-4-21 roundup: Pro football, basketball and baseball, College football, High school football and boys soccer, Middle school football, softball and golf

By Richard Walker

When Wes Helms was named Charlotte Knights manager in January 2020, it was considered one of the best “feel good” homecoming stories in the region.

Gastonia’s Wes Helms during his first season as Charlotte Knights manager. [Charlotte Knights photo by Laura Wolff]
Despite the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 that cancelled the Knights season that year and a challenging 2021 season that included more than 150 player transactions, Helms remains update about the future – and has been delighted to call Charlotte home for the past two years.

“It’s certainly been different at times,” said Helms, a 1994 Ashbrook High graduate who had a 13-year major league career before becoming a coach. “II’ve had a lot of high school buddies come over. My parents (J.W. and Ann Helms) come to at least a game or two every homestand. (Former Ashbrook classmates) Kyle Bumgarner, Daniel Beckham, Steven Silvoy… all these guys that grew up watching me play or I played with have come to see me. So it’s good to see those guys because I haven’t been able to see them a lot since high school.”

On the field, the Chicago White Sox’s top minor league affiliate just completed a 47-81 season in which injuries and roster moves led to more than 150 player transactions throughout one of the most unsettled years in minor league history. The Knights went 45-75 in the regular season and 2-6 in the “final stretch” to end the season.

“Well, it was awesome to get back to playing baseball,” Helms said. “Especially in front of fans and playing games.
“This year we’ve had 33 on the roster instead of 26. So with all the moves, you can’t ever get settled. But it’s also been fun. If we’re sending guys to Chicago that are doing good, we’re doing good. That’s what it’s all about. It ain’t about the Triple-A team when it comes to the White Sox.”

And Chicago finished with a 93-69 record to win the American League Central by 14 games, which is the largest margin of the six major league divisions. The White Sox open a best-of-five American Legion Divisional Series on Thursday against the Houston Astros.

“We’ve tried to do what we can do to get guys what they need,” Helms said.

For Helms, last year’s “lost season” even paid dividends as he spent much of his time at the White Sox training facility in the Chicago suburb of Shaumburg to do individual coaching for many of the players he coached this year and/or players who helped the White Sox to their divisional title.

“Last year we were in Shaumburg with the alternative site,” Helms said. “Now it was like Groundhog Day every day because you’re doing the same things over and over. It was good. It kept the guys ready and this and that.
“It kind of got old at times. But we made it worth their while. You were just practicing every day. And you kept guys ready that were going to the big leagues so it worked out well.”

Helms will likely be sent to the training facility again during the playoffs to work with White Sox players.

He’ll also be paying attention to his own family’s athletic fortunes as he and his wife Meredith has one son (Wes Jr.) in his freshman year as a baseball player at Auburn University, a daughter (Stella) a standout volleyball player at Briarwood, Ala., Christian School and another son (Waylon) a sixth-grade baseball prospect.



Pro basketball

The Charlotte Hornets dominated from start to finish on Monday in a 113-97 win at Oklahoma City in their preseason opener.

Rookie James Bouknight scored 20 points on seven of 12 shooting in 21 minutes off the bench to take top scoring honors.

Starters LaMelo Ball (15 points, six rebounds, five assists), Miles Bridges (13 points, five rebounds) and Terry Rozier (11 points, four assists) helped Charlotte take leads of 34-18, 67-45 and 91-71 after the first three quarters.

And Bouknight, P.J. Washington (14 points) and Jalen McDaniels (12 points, seven rebounds) were standouts off the bench. McDaniels was originally declared out on the pregame injury report with right foot discomfort but played 23 minutes off the bench.

Charlotte’s next preseason game is Thursday at home at 7 p.m. against Memphis.

Here is the full 2021 preseason schedule as the Hornets prepare for an Oct. 20 start to the regular season:

Mon. 4 at Oklahoma City (W 113-97)
Thu. 7 MEMPHIS 7:00
Mon. 11 at Miami 7:30
Wed. 13 DALLAS 7:00



Pro football

Here is the Carolina Panthers’ 2021 schedule (with results):

Sept. 12 New York Jets (W 19-14)
Sept. 19 New Orleans (W 26-7)
Sept. 23 at Houston (W 24-9)
Oct. 3 at Dallas (L 28-36)
Oct. 10 Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Oct. 17 Minnesota, 1 p.m.
Oct. 24 at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Nov. 7 New England, 1 p.m.
Nov. 14 at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
Nov. 21 Washington, 1 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Miami, 1 p.m.
Dec. 12 Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Dec. 18 or 19 at Buffalo, TBD
Dec. 26 Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Jan. 2 at New Orleans, 1 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m




College football

Here’s the Carolinas Division I schedule this week:

Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State, 6:30 p.m.

Charlotte at Florida International, 7 p.m.

Wake Forest at Syracuse, TBA
Elon at Maine, noon
South Carolina at Tennessee, noon
Georgia Tech at Duke, 12:30 p.m.
Furman at Wofford, 1:30 p.m.
Florida State at North Carolina, 3:30 p.m.
Mercer at Western Carolina, 3:30 p.m.
The Citadel at East Tennessee State, 4:30 p.m.
East Carolina at Central Florida, 6 p.m.

Here’s the Carolinas Division II schedule this week:

Newberry at Virginia Wise, noon
Wheeling at UNC Pembroke, noon
Carson-Newman at Catawba, 1 p.m.
Fayetteville at Shaw, 1 p.m.
Tusculum at Lenoir-Rhyne, 1 p.m.
Wingate at Limestone, 1 p.m.
Winston-Salem State at Johnson C. Smith, 1 p.m.
Bowie State at Chowan, 1 p.m.
Barton at Mars Hill, 1:30 p.m.
St. Augustine’s at Livingstone, 1:30 p.m.
Erskine at Savannah State, 6 p.m.
Elizabeth City State at Virginia Union, 7 p.m.
West Florida at North Greenville, 7 p.m.





High school football

Here are standings through Oct. 4 with conference record listed first followed by overall record:

Crest 4-0, 4-1
Kings Mountain 3-0, 5-1
South Point 2-1, 4-2
Forestview 2-1, 3-3
Cramer 1-2, 3-3
Ashbrook 1-2, 1-3
Huss 0-3, 0-4
North Gaston 0-4, 0-7

Statesville 3-0, 5-0
North Lincoln 2-1, 4-2
Hickory 2-1, 3-3
North Iredell 2-1, 2-3
East Lincoln 1-2, 4-2
West Iredell 1-2, 1-3
St. Stephens 1-2, 1-4
Foard 0-3, 0-5

Bunker Hill 3-0, 6-0
Maiden 3-0, 6-0
Newton-Conover 2-1, 2-3
Lincolnton 2-1, 2-4
West Lincoln 1-2, 4-2
East Burke 0-2, 1-3
Bandys 0-2, 2-2
West Caldwell 0-3, 0-5

Shelby 3-0, 5-1
Burns 2-0, 4-2
East Gaston 2-0, 4-2
Thomas Jefferson 1-2, 3-2
Bessemer City 1-2, 2-5
Cherryville 0-2, 1-5
Highland Tech 0-3, 0-6

Myers Park 2-0, 5-2
South Meck 1-0, 5-1
Olympic 1-0, 4-1
Berry Academy 1-2, 2-3
Kell 0-1, 3-2
Harding 0-2, 2-5

Catholic 3-0, 5-1
Butler 3-0, 4-2
Independence 1-1, 2-3
Rocky River 1-1, 2-4
East Meck 1-2, 1-6
Providence 0-2, 2-4
Garinger 0-3, 0-6

Hough 3-0, 6-0
West Charlotte 2-1, 5-1
Mallard Creek 2-1, 3-2
Chambers 1-1, 5-1
North Meck 1-1, 3-2
Hopewell 0-2, 1-5
West Meck 0-3, 3-4

Chase 0-1, 5-1
Clover 0-0, 1-3
Mtn Island Charter 1-1, 4-1
R-S Central 1-2, 1-4

This week’s games Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln county games:

Pine Lake Prep at Mountain Island Charter
Series: MIC leads 4-2
Storyline: The Raptors will look to avenge a 46-26 loss on March 26 in the 2021 winter/spring season while also trying to get back into the Catawba Shores 1A Conference title race.

Ashbrook at Cramer
Crest at Shelby
Huss at Forestview
Kings Mountain at South Point
Foard at East Lincoln
St. Stephens at North Lincoln
Lincolnton at West Caldwell
West Lincoln at Newton-Conover
Bessemer City at East Gaston
Cherryville at Highland Tech
Thomas Jefferson at Burns

This week’s other area games:

Providence 33, Mooresville 13

North Iredell at Hickory
West Iredell at Statesville
Bandys at Maiden
Bunker Hill at East Burke
Hopewell at Chambers
West Charlotte at Hough
West Meck at North Meck
Berry Academy at Olympic
Harding at Myers Park
South Meck at Kell
Butler at Rocky River
Catholic at Garinger
Independence at Providence
Fort Mill, S.C. at Clover, S.C.
Brevard at Chase
Patton at R-S Central








High school boys soccer

Here are the standings through Oct. 4 with conference record listed first followed by overall record:

Cramer 7-0, 13-2
Ashbrook 5-2, 7-3
Forestview 5-2, 8-4-1
South Point 5-2, 9-5
Huss 2-5, 5-5
North Gaston 2-5, 4-7-1
Kings Mountain 2-5, 3-8
Crest 0-7, 0-11

Shelby 6-0, 11-1-1
Highland Tech 4-1, 6-3
Burns 3-3, 6-3-1
Thomas Jefferson 3-3, 3-5
East Gaston 3-3, 4-10
Bessemer City 1-4, 2-7
Cherryville 0-6, 1-8-1

Gaston Christian 2-2, 4-6
Gaston Day 5-0, 11-2
East Lincoln 4-2-1, 6-5-1
North Lincoln 1-4, 5-7
Lincolnton 7-0, 9-0-1
West Lincoln 0-7, 2-12
Lincoln Charter 1-3, 5-7-1
Mtn Island Charter 0-5, 3-8
Piedmont CC 5-1, 7-2

This week’s schedule:

Ashbrook 2, Huss 0
Kings Mountain 6, Crest 1
Cramer 4, Forestview 2
South Point 6, North Gaston 1
North Iredell 5, East Lincoln 3 (OT)
North Lincoln at West Iredell, no report
Lincolnton 3, West Lincoln 0
Pine Lake Prep 6, Lincoln Charter 0
Christ the King 7, Mountain Island Charter 2

Bessemer City at Burns
Highland Tech at Cherryville
Shelby at East Gaston
Concord Academy at Gaston Christian
Lincolnton at East Lincoln
Piedmont Community Charter at Bradford Prep

Ashbrook at Crest
Huss at Kings Mountain
North Gaston at Forestview
South Point at Cramer
Gaston Christian at Hickory Grove Christian
Gaston Day at Asheville Christian
North Lincoln at East Lincoln
Bunker Hill at Lincolnton
West Lincoln at Bandys
Lincoln Charter at Langtree Charter
Mountain Island Charter at Pine Lake Prep

Cherryville at Bandys
East Gaston at Burns
Highland Tech at Bessemer City
Thomas Jefferson at Shelby
Carolina International at Piedmont Community Charter

Christ the King at Lincoln Charter
Mountain Island Charter at Gray Stone Day



High school volleyball

Gaston Day 3, Asheville Christian 2 (22-25, 25-18, 25-14, 22-25, 15-9): A win at the defending NCISAA 3A state champions improved Gaston Day to 21-9. The Spartans were led by Drew Brown, who broke her career high in kills for the third straight match with 31 on Monday, Mary Kate Hurst (31 Digs), Megan Brown (26 Kills), Camryn Massey (9 Kills, 2 Blocks), McKynzey Mauney (2 Blocks), Kaitlyn Kincaid (4 kills) and Anne Bradley Bing, who broke a school assists record with 61 on Monday.



Middle school football

Gaston County Conference standings through Sept. 29 with division record listed first followed by overall record:

(Division I)
Southwest 3-0, 5-0
Holbrook 2-1, 4-1
Grier 2-1, 4-1
Cramerton 1-2, 3-2
Mount Holly 0-4, 0-5-1
(Division II)
York Chester 4-0, 4-1-1
Belmont 4-0, 4-2
Bessemer City 2-2, 2-4
W.C. Friday 1-3, 2-4
Stanley 1-3, 1-4
Chavis 0-4, 0-5

Wednesday’s games
Cramerton at Holbrook
Southwest at Grier
York Chester at Belmont
W.C. Friday at Bessemer City
Chavis at Stanley

Tri-County Conference standings through Oct. 4 with division record listed first followed by overall record:

East Lincoln 3-0, 4-0
Kings Mountain 2-1, 2-2
North Lincoln 2-1, 3-1
Burns 1-2, 1-2
Lincolnton 0-2, 1-2
West Lincoln 0-2, 0-3
Crest 3-0, 3-1
Shelby 2-0, 4-0
R-S Central 1-1, 2-1
East Rutherford 1-1, 1-2
Thomas Jefferson 1-2, 1-3
Chase 0-3, 0-4

Monday’s game
Crest 38, East Rutherford 6: Lyrik Pettis had two touchdown runs, Michael Edwards and Dvarious Surratt had touchdown catches, Brock Melton had two touchdown passes and two-point conversion passes to Chris Gunter and Donavon Walton and Eli Black and Jackson Eddins had two-point conversion runs to lead the Crest offense and Michael Edwards had a touchdown interception return, Donavon Walton an interception and A.J. Davis, Kalih Clark and Eli Black led the Dragons’ defense.

Wednesday’s games
R-S Central at East Rutherford
Shelby at Chase
Crest at Thomas Jefferson
North Lincoln at Burns
Kings Mountain at Lincolnton
West Lincoln at East Lincoln





Middle school softball

Monday’s games
No. 1 Cramerton 10, No. 4 Mount Holly 0 (5 innings): Kayla Johnson pitched a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts and Johnson (two hits, two runs), Cailey Evans (one hit, two RBIs), Kaitlyn Baker (two hits), Madison Bridges (three hits, two RBIs), Taylyn Ledford (triple) and Josie Grimes (hit) led the offense for Cramerton (11-0), which hosts Chavis on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m.

No. 2 Chavis 10, No. 3 Stanley 0 (5 innings): Raylei Gidney got the win pitching, striking out 6 batters and allowing only 2 hits. Leading the offense was Landry Beam and Addison Davis with 2 hits each. Also contributing to the offense was Kate Mulvey, Kennedy Weathers, Gidney, Kate Bookout and Maddie Avery.

Wednesday’s game
Championship – Chavis at Cramerton, 4:15 p.m.









Pro baseball

The Gastonia Honey Hunters (50-64) begin a season-ending six-game homestand on Tuesday against Lexington.