West Bladen crushes Virginia, 11-1

By: W. Curt Vincent - cvincent@civitasmedia.com

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — West Bladen exploded for seven first-inning runs on Sunday and went on to whip the Virginia state champions 11-1 in the second round of the Dixie Pre-Majors World Series. The game was ended on the 10-run rule after five innings.

The Knights, now 18-5 overall and 2-0 in the tournament, will play the winner of the Arkansas-South Carolina game on Monday at 2 p.m.

After West Bladen starter Trent West struck out the side in the top of the first, the Knights sent 13 batters to the plate in the home half of the first. Jeremy Hunt opened things with a single, followed by a single from Seth Brit, an infield single from Scott Bowen that loaded the bases, a two-run single by West and a single by Chandler Lennon — all before one out. After an out, Ray Jones stroked an RBI double, followed by a single from Jarrett Williams, a walk to Hunter Pait, a walk to Hunt, and RBI single by Britt and a bases loaded walk to Bowen for a 7-0 lead.

In the second inning, West Bladen plated three more runs when Lennon singled, Donald McCullum walked, Jones reached on an error that scored Lennon, Williams lined an RBI single and Pait added an RBI single to give the Knights a 10-0 edge.

West struck out the first two hitters in the third inning and West Bladen coach Kim Cain decided to get him off the hill to save him for another day. In all, West went 2.2 innings and gave up one hit, one walk and struck out seven.

“We can use Trent again the next day because he threw less than 45 pitches (he threw 42),” Cain said. “So we figured that could help us.”

West was relieved by Trey Storms, who allowed Virginia a run in the third but nothing the rest of the way. He pitched 2.1 innings and gave up two hits, four walks and struck out two to earn the win.

After a scoreless fourth inning, West Bladen put the final dagger into the Virginia champs when Britt opened the inning with a single, stole second base, went to third on a groundout and came home on a balk to end the game.

“We’re pretty happy with how everything went today,” Cain said. It takes a lot of pressure off when you have an inning like we had in the first.”

Britt led the Knights’ 14-hit attack by going 3-for-4. He was followed by Williams at 2-for-2 with an RBI; Lennon at 2-for-3 with two stolen bases; Jones was 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI; Pait was 1-for-2 with an RBI; Sykes was 1-for-1 with a stolen base; West was 1-for-2 with two RBI; and Storms was 1-for-1.

W. Curt Vincent