BURGAW — The Lady Knights had to rally from a two-run deficit late in the game Tuesday to post a 9-7 Four County Conference win over Pender County and extend their winning streak to seven straight.
The Lady Knights opened the game on fire, taking a 3-0 lead behind an RBI single by Carley Dawson, RBI triple by Alanna Ludlum and a grounder that scored the final run.
But the Lady Patriots cut the deficit to 3-2 in the home half of the inning thanks in part to a West Bladen error and, in the second inning, Pender knotted the game with a single run.
The Lady Knights answered in the top of the third when Kassidy Anderson ripped a double and, moments later, scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Dawson for a 4-3 lead.
It was short-lived, however, as the Lady Patriots responded with a run to knot the game in the bottom of the inning — then went ahead 6-4 in the fourth with a two-run home run.
After a scoreless fifth frame, West Bladen got something going in the sixth when Ludlum stroked a single and Laikyn Pait smoked a mammoth, two-run home run past the left-field fence to tie the game. But the Lady Knights weren’t done. Sophia Singletary worked a walk, Jenna Dove reached on an error, Kathryn Schultz walked to fill the bases and Conner Brisson laced an RBI single for a 7-6 lead. Anderson followed by reaching base on an error that brought home tow runs for a 9-6 advantage.
Pender County tried to rally in the seventh inning, scoring a run on a West Bladen error, but the comeback quickly fizzled.
“Great win on a day we didn’t play as well as we would have liked,” said West Bladen coach Joey Autry. “The girls pressed through and gritted out a tough win over a pretty good Pender team.
“I’m amazed at the effort of our team to this point and I have tremendous group of coaches,” he added. “We have a bunch of servant-hearted leaders. I look forward to finishing the season strong.”
Brisson was 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI for West Bladen, while Ludlum was 2-for-4 with a triple and RBI and Dawson was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Pait had the home run and three RBI, and Anderson had a double and two RBI.
Singletary raised her record in the circle to 8-7 with the win. She gave up just two earned runs, fanned four and didn’t walk a batter.
— In Burgaw on Tuesday, Trent West pitched the best game of his high-school career with 14 strikeouts en route to earning a 10-2 Four County Conference win for the Knights over Pender County.
West Bladen supported its junior pitcher with 14 hits.
Neither team could get on the scoreboard over the first two innings, but the Knights scored a run in the top of the third thanks to a pair of Patriots errors and an RBI single by Chandler Lennon.
Pender County answered with a run in the home half of the inning without a hit. A walk, passed ball, groundout and wild pitch produced the tying run.
In the top of the fourth, West Bladen scored twice for a 3-1 edge when Seth Britt singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by Donald McCullum. Moments later, Troy Edge crunched a double to put runners at second and third just ahead of an RBI groundout by Jeremy Hunt.
The Knights extended the lead to 4-1 in the fifth when Lennon doubled, stole third and came home on an RBI single by West. Pender managed to get the run back in the bottom of the inning — also getting its first hit against West in the game — to close to within 4-2.
West Bladen padded its lead in the sixth when Jones singled, went to third on a pair of groundouts and scored on a single by Weston Pidgeon for a 5-2 lead.
The Knights erupted for five two-out runs in the seventh inning behind an RBI single from McCullum, two-run double by Edge and RBI single by Hunt — who kept running to home when Pender couldn’t field his hit cleanly.
West, who struck out the side in the fourth and fifth frames, gave up just two hits and walked four in 6.1 innings. Jarrett Williams finished the game for West Bladen.
At the plate, West was 3-for-4 with an RBI; McCullum was 2-for-3 with two RBI; Edge was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI; Pidgeon was 2-for-4 with an RBI; Hunt had two RBI; and Lennon had a double and an RBI.
— In Elizabethtown on Tuesday, the Eagles had their eight-game winning streak snapped by visiting Heidi Trask, 9-3.
The Titans handed East Bladen its first conference loss by scoring runs in four of the first five innings. Trask plated a run in the first, four in the second, one in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
The Eagles scored a run in the third on a two-out, RBI triple by Sincere Smith, then tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth. Ty Watkins had an RBI single in the fourth and Quinton Bedsole had an RBI single in the fifth.
The loss kept East Bladen from securing a share of the Four County Conference crown. It’s next chance to do that will be Friday at Wallace-Rose Hill.
— In Elizabethtown on Tuesday, Lacey Suggs found the back of the net four times to lead the Lady Eagles past visiting Heidi Trask in a Four County Conference match, 5-0.
East Bladen opened the scoring with a Suggs goal 14 minutes into the match and, almost 10 minutes later, Ashley Hardin took a pass from Cassie Hill and fired in a goal for a 2-0 lead.
Just moments later, Suggs gave the Lady Eagles a 3-0 edge with a goal and, with halftime closing in, she scored again — giving her another hat trick and East Bladen a 4-0 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Abby Ward fed Suggs a pass and the senior booted home another goal to seal the whitewash win.
— In Elizabethtown on Tuesday, the Lady Eagles put up an early fight against conference-leading Heidi Trask, but the Lady Titans proved too much and took a 10-2 Four County Conference win.
After Trask had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, East Bladen struck for two runs in the bottom of the second inning when Anna Kate White was hit by a pitch, Olivia Hollingsworth reached on an error and Majesti Corbett laced an RBI single; a fielder’s choice off the bat of Miller Heustess brought home the g-ahead run.
But the Lady Titans exploded for four runs in the third aided by four East Bladen miscues, then added a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth for an 8-2 lead.
Heidi Trask sealed the game with two runs in the seventh.
“Too many errors, (but) still young and improving — much improvement by the girls against a very good Trask team,” said East Bladen coach Patty Evers. “(Emily) Scott hit the ball well and (Miller) Heustess pitched her best game of the year despite the score.”
Scott was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, and Corbett was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Heustess suffered the loss in the circle, but struck out five.