Tatum, Wooten lead Eagles past Pender

ELIZABETHTOWN –East Bladen catcher Kyle Tatum stayed hot at the plate, delivering two hits and two RBI on Thursday to help lead the Eagles to an 11-1 Four County Conference win over visiting Pender County.

The win improved East Bladen to 8-4 overall and 7-2 in the conference.

The Eagles got on the board quickly, plating three runs in the bottom of the first inning when a hit batter, an error and a single by Tatum scored a run. That was followed by a theft of home by Sincere Smith on a pick-off to first, and Xavier Wooten’s fielder’s choice drove in a run for a 3-0 edge.

East Bladen tacked on a run in the fourth inning on a wild pitch before the Patriots scored their lone run in the top of the fifth without the benefit of a hit to close the gap to 4-1.

But the Eagles salted the game away with four runs in the home half of the fifth. Shy Pone reached on an infield single, Smith walked and Tatum ripped a single that loaded the bases before a wild pitch sent Pone home, Wooten reached on an infield hit that scored Smith, and wild pitches plated the next two runs for an 8-1 East Bladen advantage.

The Eagles added three runs in the sixth to finish the game — walks to Deondre Newkirk, Pone, Smith and Tatum plated the first run; Ty Watkins bounced a fielder’s choice for the second run; and Wooten lofted a sacrifice fly for the final run.

Watkins earned the win on the hill for the Eagles, working five innings and giving up no earned runs on five hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. Smith finished up with an inning of work, allowing a walk and fanning two.

Tatum was 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, while Wooten finished 2-for-3 with three RBI.

The Eagles will host cross-county conference rival West Bladen on Tuesday at 7 p.m.