CERRO GORDO — West Bladen capped a 3-1 record in the Dixie Pre-Majors state tournament on Monday with an 11-5 win over Duplin County in the championship game, and earned a second straight berth in the World Series.
The World Series will be played in Chipley, Fla., from July 26 to July 30.
Trent West and Mason Hester worked a solid game on the hill for the Knights, but it was the offense that carried West Bladen to the decisive win. The Knights recorded 21 hits in the game, including seven extra-base knocks — three of which went for home runs.
The Knights wasted no time getting on the board. Weston Pidgeon opened the game with a walk and was sacrificed to second just ahead of a triple by Trevor Lesane. Moments later, West drove Lesane home with a single and, later in the inning, Chandler McLean added an RBI double for a 3-0 West Bladen lead.
Duplin County managed to respond with a run in the home half of the first frame, then knotted the game with a pair of runs in the second inning.
In the Knights half of the third, Michael Pastore led off with a single and Lesane slugged a two-run hone run to give West Bladen a 5-3 lead it would never relinquish. Before the inning was over, West doubled and his courtesy runner, Jeremy Hunt, scored on a single by Ray Jones for a 6-3 edge.
In the fourth frame, the Knights tacked on a pair of runs for an 8-3 lead when a Duplin County error and sacrifice put a runner at second before Lesane stroked an RBI single and, after a single by West put runners at the corners, McLean drove home a run.
The West Bladen lead grew to 10-3 in the top of the fifth when Seth Britt singled and Pastore blasted a two-run home run.
West Bladen added a run in the top of the seventh when Lesane crushed a solo home run to bump the Knights’ lead to 11-3. Duplin County plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to complete the scoring.
“We really put the bat on the ball in this one,” West Bladen coach Kim Cain said.
West earned the win on the mound for West Bladen, hurling five innings and giving up three runs on three hits, five hit batters and four walks. He also struck out five. Hester pitched two innings of relief for the Knights, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk. He fanned one batter.
“Trent threw the ball well for us,” Cain said. “He had a bit of wildness, which may have kept them from digging in as much, but he hung in there and they didn’t hit us as well as they did in the two previous games.”
At the plate, the Knights’ 21-hit attack was led by Lesane’s 5-for-5 day that included two home runs, a triple and five RBIS. Right behind was Colby McLean, who was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI; West was 4-for-5 with a double and RBI; Pastore was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI; and Jones was 2-for-4 with an RBI.