FAYETTEVILLE — Pierce Melvin, brought up to the varsity after a season-ending injury to Ty Watkins, earned his first start on the hill for East Bladen on Tuesday as the Eagles claimed third place in the J. Hoyt Warren/Wayne Edwards Invitational with an 8-1 win over Freedom Christian.
The win improved East Bladen to 10-5. They will be off until Tuesday, when they travel to Heidi Trask for a Four County Conference game at 7 p.m.
The Eagles got rolling right out of the gate when Sincere Smith led off the game with a double, Brooks McGill walked and Kyle Tatum ripped a run-scoring double. After an out, Josh McKoy laced a two-run single for a 3-0 lead.
The Patriots got one run back in the home half of the first thanks to an East Bladen error.
After a scoreless second inning, the Eagles scored twice in the top of the third when Tatum and Xavier Wooten each singled, advanced on a wild pitch and they both came home on a Patriots error for a 5-1 advantage.
Following a scoreless fourth frame, East Bladen picked up a run in the fifth inning behind a single by Tatum and RBI single from Quinton Bedsole for a 6-1 edge.
In the sixth inning, Deondre Newkirk singled, stole second and scored on a Smith single. Smith then stole second and third bases, and scored on an error for a the 8-1 lead.
Melvin hurled six innings for the win, giving up an unearned run on four hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Smith finished up and made things interesting — giving up two walks and a hit, but not allowing a run.
At the plate, Smith was 3-0for-4 with two doubles and an RBI; Tatum was 3-for-3 with a double and RBI; Wooten was 2-for-3; McKoy had two RBI; and Dan Tatum had a double.
After the game, the Eagles were presented the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.