DUBLIN — It was West versus West. Knights versus Knights. No. 1 versus No. 2. When the rains ended and dust settled on Friday, the two teams had split a pair of five-inning Dixie Pre-Majors games.
West Bladen No. 1 used an eight-run inning to knock off West Bladen No. 2 in the opener, 10-7. In the nightcap, a four-run inning followed by a three-run inning gave Knights No. 2 a 7-0 win over Knights No. 1.
The first game was far from pretty. Five pitchers combined for 17 walks, three hit batters and seven wild pitches — but gave up only nine total hits.
As the rains started to come down, West No. 2 got on the board first with a run in the top of the second when Brandon Carson reached on an error, went to second on a passed ball, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error. The bags got filled moments later on a single by John Bowen, a walk to Trey Storms and Ian Sykes was hit by a pitch, but the threat fizzled there.
West Bladen No. 1 sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning and, with the benefit of just one hit — a two-run single by Trevor Lesane — the Knights plated eight runs thanks to eight walks and a hit batter, and opened an 8-1 lead.
But West No. 2 answered with six runs in the third, sending 10 hitters to the plate and getting an RBI single from Michael Pastore, and RBI single from Joseph Miller and a bases-loaded RBI walk to John Bowen that helped cut the deficit to 8-7.
West No. 1 extended the lead to 10-7 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth when Colby McLean stroked a seeing-eye, two-out triple to the wall in left-center, followed by an RBI double down the right field line by Donald McCullum. After stealing third, McCullum scored on a throwing error.
West No. 2 got a leadoff double from Pastore and walk to Chandler Lennon to open the top of the fifth, but the rally was snuffed there.
Scott Bowen earned the win by pitching the final 2.1 innings in relief of Trent West.
Pastore was 2-for-2 with a double and RBI for West No. 2, while Seth Britt, Miller and John Bowen each had a single. For West No. 1, Lesane had a single and two RBI, McLean had a triple, McCullum had a double and RBI, and Caleb Sholar had a single.
In the second game, with Mother Nature cooperating again, West No. 2 got solid pitching from McLean, whom they borrowed from West No. 1 for the nightcap.
The Knights No. 2 again broke out in front with four runs in the bottom of the second inning when McLean led off with a single and, after a series of walks, errors, stolen bases and wild pitches, a four-spot was on the board. Miller and John Bowen also rapped singles in the inning for West No. 2.
The Knights No. 1 threatened in the top of the third when Sholar led off with a single, Westin Pridgeon walked and, after an out, Lesane launched a double to the wall in center. Both runners held up near second base to make sure the long fly ball wasn’t caught and, when it fell, they each took off for home. Britt chased the ball down in center and threw to Pastore at shortstop, who whirled and fired home to Carson just as the first runner was coming home.
Without hesitation, Carson tagged the first runner at the plate and the second runner right behind for a double-play to end the inning and threat.
“That play was huge,” said Steve Pastore, coach of the West No. 2 team. “It was a key play for us.”
West No. 2 put up three insurance runs in the top of the fifth, thanks to five walks and six wild pitches, extending the gap to 7-0.
In the home half, West No. 1 got something started when John Ashworth led off with a walk but was thrown out stealing. Moments later, Ray Jones crushed a double to center, but was thrown out stealing third to end the game.
Joseph Miller was 1-for-1 with an RBI, while McLean was 1-for-1 and Jeremy Hunt had an RBI for West No. 2. For West No. 1, Jones was 2-for-3 with a double, Lesane was 1-for-1 with a double and Sholar had a single.
McLean earned the win for West No. 2 on the hill, hurling four innings of three-hit ball. Troy Edge finished up.