ELIZABETHTOWN — Double plays choked off Clinton uprisings in the sixth and seventh innings Monday, as East Bladen captured an 8-5 Four County Conference win over the visiting Dark Horses for its eighth straight win.
The Eagles wasted little time getting on the board, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning when Quinton Bedsole walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Kyle Tatum then reached first base on a dropped third strike and promptly stole second just ahead of a walk to Nikita Owens that filled the bases.
Ty Watkins sliced a two-run single to bring home Bedsole and Tatum for a 2-0 lead.
But Clinton bounced right back with three runs in the top of the second, fueled by an East Bladen error, hat gave the visitors a slim 3-2 edge.
The Eagles knotted the game in the home half thanks to a Clinton miscue, a single by Sincere Smith, a hit batter to load the bases and a walk to Owens that forced home a run.
The Dark Horses came right back with a run in the top of the third for a 4-3 lead, but East Bladen tied the game again with a run in the bottom of the third. Xavier Wooten singled and pulled off a Houdini during a rundown that put him at second base and, when the throw went wide, Wooten scampered to third. Alex Coates then lofted a sacrifice fly to score Wooten.
After holding Clinton scoreless in the fourth, the Eagles plated three runs in the home half behind an infield single by Smith, two hit batters, a pair of walks and another sacrifice fly by Coates.
In the fifth frame, East Bladen used a walk to McGill, single by Bedsole that put runners at the corners and, when Bedsole lit out for second, the throw went awry and brought McGill home for an 8-4 Eagles lead.
The Dark Horses tried to mount a comeback in the sixth inning with a double and single to cut the deficit to 8-5. But Smith snared a grounder up the middle and completed a double play to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Clinton got something started again thanks to a pair of East Bladen errors. But an alert play by Bedsole on a bad pick-off throw managed to catch the advancing Clinton runner at third. Moments later, Smith pulled down a chopper up the middle, stepped on second and fired to first to end the game.
Coates earned the win on the hill for East Bladen, working five innings and giving up two earned runs on seven hits, four walks and four strikeouts. Wooten finished up, giving up a run on two hits, one walk and one strikeout.
At the plate, East Bladen was led by Watkins and Smith, each of whom were 2-for-4. Watkins also had two RBI, while Coates and Owens each had two RBI.