DUBLIN — The heart of the Lady Knights’ batting order supplied six hits and four RBIs on Tuesday to lead West Bladen past visiting East Bladen in a Three Rivers Conference clash, 7-5.
The win improved the Lady Knights to 6-3 in the conference and 6-4 overall; the lady Eagles fell to 3-5 in the conference and 4-5 overall.
West pitcher Madison Collins set the visitors down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, and the Lady Knights took a 2-0 lead in the home half when Kyla Reed was hit by a pitch, Alara Cashwell belted an RBI triple down the right field line and Abby Dawson drove her home with a grounder to first.
East Bladen threatened in the second with a pair of two-out singles by Anna Kate White and Olivia Hollingsworth, but the rally fizzled there. In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Knights plated two more runs when Shelby Pharr walked, Elizabeth Albright singled, Carley Dawson smacked an RBI single and stole second, Reed singled and Cashwell’s single brought home a run to put West Bladen up, 4-0.
The Lady Eagles got back in the game with three runs in the third inning behind five hits and two stolen bases. Abby Cross and Kayleigh Raynor opened the inning with singles before a fielder’s choice took Cross off the bases. But Kaley Smith stroked an RBI single and Alyssa Futrell walked to load the bases ahead of a run-scoring single by Faith Johnson and RBI single by White to pull the visitors within 4-3.
West Bladen managed to get two runs back in the bottom of the fourth inning — all with two outs. Cashwell worked a walk and a wild pitch brought her all the way to third before a wild pitch allowed her to scamper home with the first run. Abby Dawson ripped a single and stole second base ahead of an RBI single by Brittney Landreth to open a 6-3 advantage.
In the fifth frame, the lady Knights added a run when Alyssa Suggs and Pharr opened the inning with walks. Successive wild pitches put runners at second and third before Albright laced a grounder to first and drove Suggs home for a 7-3 edge.
East Bladen battled back for a pair of runs in the sixth when Hollingsworth singled, Johanna Parker doubled to left-center to put Lady Eagles at second and third — and both scored on an RBI groundout by Cross and sacrifice fly by Raynor to pull within 7-5.
In the seventh, White lined a two-out single for East Bladen, but was left stranded.
“The defense is really turning around,” said West coach Pam Stephens, whose Lady Knights played errorless ball. “We’ve been working hard on that.
“Otherwise, I think we hit the ball hard and, other than a rough inning early, Madison really settle down,” she added. “We figured this would be a tight one.”
Landreth was 2-for-2 with an RBI for West Bladen at the plate; Cashwell was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI; Abby Dawson was 2-for-4 with an RBI and stolen base; Albright was 1-for-3 with an RBI; and Carley Dawson was 1-for-4 with an RBI and stolen base.
Collins earned the win in the circle, twirling a complete game and giving up five runs, 11 hits, one walk and one strikeout.
“I’m pleased — we could have done things better, but I’m proud we kept fighting and didn’t give up,” East coach Chase Lancaster said. “I think we hit the ball pretty well.”
At the plate for East Bladen, White was 3-for-4 wit an RBI; Hollingsworth was 2-for-4; Raynor was 1-for-3 with an RBI and stolen base; McKoy was 1-for-4 with a stolen base; Smith was 1-for-4 with an RBI; Johnson was 1-for-4 with an RBI; Parker was 1-for-3 with a double and RBI; and Cross was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Smith took the loss in the circle, going 1.2 innings and giving up four runs, six hits, one walk, one hit batter and no strikeouts. Raynor finished up, going 4.1 innings and giving up three runs, three hits, five walks, one hit batter and one strikeout.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.