FAYETTEVILLE — The East Bladen trio of Kyle Tatum, Ty Watkins and Xavier Wooten combined to go 6-for-7 at the plate and drive in seven runs on Saturday, while Watkins hurled a complete-game one-hitter against E.E. Smith to win the Eagles’ opening round game in the annual J. Hoyt Warren/Wayne Edwards Invitational, 10-0.
The win improved East Bladen to 6-2 and earned a berth in the second round on Monday against Scotland County.
The Eagles came out of the gate early in the game played at Douglas Byrd High. A pair of walks got things started in the bottom of the first and an infield single by Tatum drove in the first run. A wild pitch moved the two remaining runners along and both scored on a single by Watkins for a 3-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, a hit batter and error put two Eagles on base ahead of a passed ball that moved the runners into scoring position and the next two Eagles hitters made E.E. Smith pay — a groundout by Watkins brought home a run and a single by Nikita Owens extended the advantage to 5-0.
In the fourth frame, Quiton Bedsole opened things for East Bladen with a single, went to third on two wild pitches and scampered home when the throw to third went awry. Deandre Newkirk then reached on a walk, went to second on a wild pitch and came home when Tatum laced an RBI single for a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles iced the game on the 10-run mercy rule in the fifth inning by scoring three runs. Watkins launched a triple and Wooten smashed a hot RBI single for the first run; Alex Coates reached on an infield singe and the Eagles filled the bags when Devan Stocks singled. Sincere Smith followed with a double that drove in two and sealed the win.
Tatum was 2-for-2 with two RBI for East Bladen, and Wooten matched those stats. Watkins was 2-for-3 with the triple and three RBI, while Smith added the two-run double.
On the hill, Watkins, 1-0, retired the Golden Bulls in order through every inning but the third. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out seven to earn the win.