DUBLIN — West Bladen wrapped up its Dixie Youth Pre-Majors summer baseball season on Thursday with a split of a double-header against East Columbus.
The Knights dropped the opening game 4-2, then rebounded for a 9-3 win in the nightcap to finish 7-3 in the weather-shortened season.
“It was probably the craziest summer season I’ve ever seen,” said West Bladen coach Kim Cain. “We had 14 games rained out.”
Mother Nature delivered a near-perfect evening for baseball on Thursday, with mostly clear skies and dwindling temperatures as darkness fell around the Knights’ baseball Castle.
In the opener, West Bladen was gracious to the visiting Gators, committing a trio of errors in the first inning that helped East Columbus build a 3-0 lead.
The Knights got two runs back in the bottom of the first inning when Jake Butler stoked a two-run single.
But the Gators added a run in the top of the third to extend the advantage to 4-2 and all but seal the win.
Neither team could find home plate over the last two innings.
Trey Storms took the hard-luck loss on the hill for West Bladen.
In the second game, East Columbus again struck first — thanks again to Knights miscues.
West Bladen committed a couple of errors to help the Gators take a 2-0 edge. But the Knights cut that lead in half in the bottom of the first thanks to a Logan West double and Storms sacrifice fly.
West Bladen erupted for six runs in the home half of the second inning and opened a 7-2 lead that never was threatened.
East Columbus nicked the Knights for a run in the top of the third to close the gape to 7-3, but West Bladen plated a pair in the bottom of the third to finish off the scoring.
Colby White hurled the first four innings for the Knights and earned the win, while West finished up with an uneventful fifth.
“We got good pitching and, aside from those first innings, we played good defense,” Cain said. “And we probably hit the ball better than we have this summer.”
He added that, for the first time in five seasons, West Bladen will not seek to play in the Dixie Youth Pre-Majors state tournament and vie for a berth in the World Series in Alabama.
“I just don’t think we’ll have much available going forward,” Cain said. “We have several players who will be playing travel ball.”
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.