ELIZABETHTOWN — A day after clinching the conference crown, East Bladen lost a cross-county rivalry matchup with visiting West Bladen, 3-2, in the two teams’ regular-season finale.
For West Bladen, it was something of a redemption win — especially given that it ended with a thrown out Eagles runner at the plate for the final out.
The Knights opened the scoring in the top of the second when an error put a runner on and Ray Jones ripped a double to the fence for the RBI and a 1-0 edge.
West Bladen added a run in the fourth when Trent West singled, moved up on an error, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Seth Britt and then scored on a wild pitch.
East Bladen cut the deficit in half in the home half of the fourth when Xavier Wooten walked, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Brooks McGill’s RBI single.
The Knights threatened in the fifth, loading the bases on a double by Troy Edge, infield single by Jeremy Hunt and walk to Weston Pidgeon — but couldn’t score.
The Eagles knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Kyle Tatum walked, moved up on a wild pitch and came around on Ty Watkins’ RBI single. East went on to load the bases, but couldn’t push another run home.
Jarrett Williams started the Knights’ sixth with a leadoff triple and West Bladen filled the bags once again. But again, East Bladen managed to wiggle out of the jam without harm.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles also loaded the bases without any outs, but it all fizzled without a run scoring.
West Bladen went up 3-2 in the top of the seventh when Chandler Lennon got things going with a double. West reached on an error and Britt laced an RBI single for the lead.
The Eagles came to the plate for their last at-bats and quickly put together a rally — but West’s West would have nothing of it. He made a diving catch of a line drive for one out and, after walks to Alex Coates and McGill, Sincere Smith ripped a single to right and pinch-runner Deon’dre Newkirk steamed home with the tying run.
But West fielded the ball cleanly and fired a laser to Brandon Carson at the plate, who tagged Newkirk to end the game.
Hunt earned the win on the hill for the Knights, going the final three innings and giving up two hits, five walks and striking out three. West hurled the first four frames, striking out 10 and giving up two hits and five walks.
— In Dunn on Saturday, the Lady Knights saw their 10-game winning streak snapped in the regular-season finale at Midway, 8-0.
Held to just four hits at the plate, West Bladen never threatened to get on the board and, in the field, uncharacteristic errors helped the Lady Raiders score eight unanswered runs.
Midway scored once in the third inning and seven times in the fifth.