ROWLAND — West Bladen saw its 7-4 lead evaporate in the sixth inning Monday when two hit batters, an error and passed ball led to four South Robeson runs and gave the Mustangs an 8-7 win on the second day of the Robeson County Slugfest.
The loss drops the Knights to 3-7 overall and out of the tournament.
South Robeson plated a trio of runs in the top of the first inning, but West Bladen responded with a run in the home half when Seth Britt singled but was forced out at second on Chandler Lennon’s fielder’s choice. Trent West then laced a doubles and, after a walk loaded the bases, a walk to Ray Jones forced home a run to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Mustangs got that run back in the second inning to open a 4-1 edge, but West Bladen exploded for four runs in the bottom of the inning. An error and walk put two Knights aboard and Jeremy Hunt ripped an RBI single. Britt walked to fill the bags and an error scored a run and, when the ball eluded the outfielder, two more runs scampered home to give the Knights a 5-4 edge.
West Bladen added two more runs in the fourth frame when Britt reached on an infield single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Lennon’s long double. Moments later, Jarrett Williams singled to put runners at the corners and a balk brought home a West Bladen run, extending the lead to 7-4.
After a scoreless fifth, South Robeson began its rally in the sixth, then held the Knights scoreless in the sixth and seventh.
Lennon was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and two RBI, while Britt was 2-for-3 for West Bladen. Lennon also took the complete-game loss on the mound, giving up nine hits, walking three, hitting two and striking out seven.
The Knights will return to Four County Conference action on Tuesday when they host Midway at 7 p.m.
Lady Knights fall, 7-2
Also in Rowland on Monday, West Bladen’s softballers — which had won three of the past four Slugfest titles — were ousted from the tournament after a 7-2 loss to host South Robeson.
The Lady Knights are now 4-6 and will return to Four County Conference play on Tuesday when they host Midway at 6 p.m.
After two scoreless innings, West Bladen plated a run in the top of the third for a 1-0 edge, but the Lady Mustangs answered with a pair of runs in the home half to take a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Knights came right back with a run in the top of the fourth to knot the game at 2-2, but South Robeson responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-2 advantage.
Neither team could score in the fifth, but the Lady Mustangs erupted for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to seal the win.
Kathryn Schultz led West Bladen at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Kassidy Anderson was 2-for-4.
Sophia Singletary took the loss for the Lady Knights in the circle, giving up 14 hits — including a home run, two triples and two doubles.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.